Matt Barnes was back on the practice court for a shoot-around Wednesday, along with a new set of goggles and a flurry of nicknames.
Nothing his teammates said could dampen the spirits of Barnes, who said he was thrilled to be back after missing nearly a month to have three surgeries to repair a damaged left retina.
Barnes has been cleared to play, but it was unknown if he would participate in the Clippers’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center on Wednesday night. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers did not speak with the media at the shoot-around.
Barnes said was not enamored with his new eyewear, which more closely resembles the understated glasses worn by the New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire than the classic goggles sported by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“I hate them,” Barnes said. “I just don’t like anything on my face, so it will be something to work through, but anything to get back on the court.”
How long will Barnes have to wear them?
“They said a couple of weeks,” he said, “so we’ll see if they make it through the first game.”
There was one upside to being out for so long: the bruised right thigh and other injuries Barnes had earlier this season have fully healed.
“My body feels good,” said Barnes, who averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in the eight games he’s played this season, “it’s just going to be a matter of time before I get my legs and my wind back to where they need to be.”
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said he was impressed with how Barnes held up on the court.
“The thing about Matt is, he’s always in shape no matter how much time he misses or how long he’s been out,” Crawford said. “His wind is always there. The goggles don’t seem to affect his shot too much, so he may look a little funny, but other than that, he was making his shots.”