After a surgery to remove a loose body in his knee last month, Chris Copeland is back on the floor and practicing with his teammates. Copeland was expected to return by the time training camp began in late September, but Copeland is actually ahead of schedule.
“I’m getting back, getting my legs under me, doing a lot of rehab stuff trying to get stronger. I’m hitting the floor. This is my first week actually playing, getting up and down some. Obviously, I’m not 100 percent. I’m not going to lie to you. But I can play. I’m getting up and down and the fact that I can actually play and get on the floor is good enough for me at this point.” Copeland also stated he doesn’t expect the knee surgery to slow him down, according to Scott Agness of Pacers.com.
It is a great sign to see Copeland back on the floor, building some team chemistry and all, as well as getting back to form before training camp and the preseason begin.
Copeland will be huge for the Indiana Pacers this season coming off the bench. Donnie Walsh‘s season stay with Larry Bird taking a year off turned out to be pretty ugly, seeing what he did with the bench (Note: the starting rotation were all drafted/brought in by Bird, and the bench players were the fault of Walsh). Last season’s bench fell way short of expectations and may have been the reason the Pacers lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat.
Luckily for Indiana, Bird only needed one year off, and he is now back at it. Bird has already brought in three key bench players, including Copeland, that will make a huge impact on the success of this season’s team.
Copeland added to his previous statement about his return saying, ”it’s gonna be a great year. I think we’re a really, really deep team and I’m learning a lot from the guys already.”