Nearly two months ahead of his timetable of recovery, Kendrick Perkins said he expects to return to the floor for the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night against the Washington Wizards.
Perkins suffered a torn pectoral muscle on Oct. 31 and was expected to miss three months while the muscle healed. But he’s gotten himself onto the practice floor within the past two weeks and said he’ll be ready to play on Friday.
“I just worked hard, man, and I punched in the clock,” Perkins said. “I’m feeling good. I just got with our medical staff and made it work from there.”
Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry wasn’t as confident in setting a firm date for return, but said he wasn’t surprised the 6-foot-10 center is ahead of schedule, considering his dedication to physical therapy and rehabilitation.
“If you know Perk, you know he works as hard as anybody at practices or as hard as anybody in the weight room,” Gentry said. “If you know him from that standpoint, it doesn’t surprise you that he may have an opportunity to come back early.”
Perkins started each of the first three games while centers Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca were hampered by injuries of their own. The 12-year veteran scored 5.7 points and pulled in 2.7 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per game at the season’s onset.
He hasn’t played since getting tangled up two minutes into a 134-11 loss to Golden State on Halloween night.
“I was trying to foul somebody during the game,” Perkins said. “And I just wound up hurting myself.”