The daily Perk watch has been one pleasant surprise after another so far. (Let's all collectively knock on wood that this keeps up.) So much so that even John Hollinger took notice last night.
Put simply, Kendrick Perkins was a beast. And if he can return to the lineup as a reasonable facsimile of the Perk of seasons past, it gives Boston another weapon in its quest to regain the championship...
His statistics were good, but the qualitative side was even better. He didn't appear to have issues leaping or running, supplied his usual nails-tough post defense to help thwart Portland's leading scorer, LaMarcus Aldridge, and added healthy dollops of physicality and trash-talking swagger.
Doc even left him out there longer than he originally intended. He and trainer Ed Lacerte kept a close eye on him and seem more concerned with his wind than his knee at this point. True, Perk has been maniacal in his rehab and training, so he's not out of shape exactly. But game shape is just a different thing than treadmills and sprints.
Another thing that I hadn't thought of before now is the nature of Perkins' game. When Tony Allen was coming back from his knee injuries, he always said it was the mental part that was more challenging than the physical. He had to trust his knee, especially on explosive jumps and cuts. Well, there's nothing explosive about Perk's game unless you count the picks he puts on defenders.
If he can hold his ground in the post and battle for position then he's won half the battle of getting back to full speed. The only thing that would still concern me is his lateral movement. As a defender by trade, his game depends on him moving his feet to the right spot before the offensive player gets there. So far so good, as long as his knee doesn't flare up or get too sore, he seems to be on the right track. He seems to be in good spirits too.
"Hopefully my body won't ache and I'll be good," said Perkins. "I'm just looking forward to playing. I feel like I've been on vacation for six months."
Welcome back big fella. We missed you.