Gary Vitti Rumors

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The Lakers’ star had just torn his left Achilles’ tendon April 12 against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, an injury that would leave the purple and gold faithful without anyone to guide them through the bumpy postseason waters. But before that unsettling reality settled in, Bryant pleaded one last case to stay on the court. “The warrior that he is, Kobe says maybe I can run on my heel,” Vitti recalls, laughing, in a recent interview with this newspaper. “I was like, ‘Come on. You have to go.’”
“He’ll come back from this and he’ll be as athletic as he was last year, but not as athletic as he used to be,” Vitti said. “He may bring some other new stuff that you haven’t seen yet.” Vitti sounded more tempered with his expectations for Nash, whom he described as “feeling great” after spending this offseason rehabbing his hamstring. “He might be a guy that would be better off reducing his minutes,” Vitti said of Nash, who played an average of 32.5 minutes per game last season. “Because he wasn’t himself last year, let’s see what he’s like in camp. We’re not going to beat the guy up.”
“I thought he was going to be worse with pushing, pushing, pushing,” Vitti said of Bryant. “But he’s been very, very smart about the entire process.” Almost. Bryant jumped off a 40-foot high dive, something he soon posted on Vine, a social media video player. “I wasn’t real happy with it,” Vitti said. “I initially thought it was like when he jumped over the car.”
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A walk into the Lakers’ training room on Thursday morning showed a picture that’s became all too common this offseason, but one that’s visually appealing for Lakers fans nonetheless. Kobe Bryant continued his rehab on his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, as expected, the latest involving running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti expects Bryant remains a “few weeks away” before advancing to full-weight bearing running, though he acknowledged that’s a “nebulous term.”
Mike Trudell: Basically, your worst nightmare. How did all the injuries impact you, and how do you avoid assigning blame? Gary Vitti: I had a lot of sleepless nights. When things are going bad like that, when there is a bad bio rhythm going, you’re staying up at night wondering if you’re doing everything you can to get a guy well. That’s something you can control. But then you worry about what’s going to happen next. Some of that you can control, meaning, seeing if we are doing everything we can to prevent injuries with our training program. For what we can’t control, you worry about who’s going to get hurt next when a season like this happens, but you have to just put that out of your brain, because it’s wasted energy. When you finally get everyone on the floor, another guy gets hurt, and it was just a revolving door until we lost our last game. This was my worst season in 29 years.
Gary Vitti: So when Pau left for Spain last week, he had zero pain in the left tendon, and the right tendon was almost pain free. He’s coming along really, really well. We also expect his plantar fascia to completely heal by next season. There’s a small gap right now, but it’s filling in nicely. Having said all that – it’s a testament to the toughness of Pau. He’s never been regarded as a ‘tough guy’ on the court, meaning a someone who bangs around out there – he’s a skilled, finesse player. But he’s always shown a level of toughness to play injured. A lot of times, Pau has been playing through tendinitis throughout different times in his career and he deserves some credit for that. He is the consummate professional. He did everything we asked him to do on the court, whether or not it was good for him individually.
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Gary Vitti: But I think he’s going to come back in great shape, and then it’s all about how he’s used. You don’t want to beat him up in practice. Save it for the game, figure out the appropriate minutes that put him in a successful situation. The example I use is Robert Horry, where we played him a lot of minutes, and it was difficult for him to recover and be productive at his age. But he goes to San Antonio, plays 18 minutes a game, and the guy was an unbelievable force off the bench for them. I think if we figure out how best to use Steve, he can be the same way.
Vitti agreed that every minute on the court would lead to an increased chance of injury. However, he shot down speculation about the impact of Bryant’s increasingly heavy workload. “To say that he was injured because he played 48 minutes a game the last however-many games I think is a stretch,” Vitti said. “Lots of guys rupture their Achilles’ tendons and don’t play 48 minutes. To make that correlation I don’t think is fair.”
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Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown thinks it’s possible Steve Nash will only be out a week because of the fracture to his left leg but that the team isn’t putting pressure on him to rush back. “You obviously hope he’s back as soon as possible,” Brown said Sunday after the team’s shootaround. “But the one thing you don’t want to do, you don’t want to compromise his long-term health for him coming back quicker than he should. So, (trainer) Gary Vitti and the staff are on top of it. We’ll just wait and play it out from there.”