A month ago, it was reported that Metta World Peace was looking into retirement. At the time, it sounded like World Peace, who was an amnesty candidate for the Lakers, would merely use the threat of retirement as leverage in case he was amnestied and was claimed by a team he didn't want to join. However, last night, the man formerly known as Ron Artest told reporters (including Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com) that he seriously considered retiring last year, due to a lumbar disorder in his lower back.
"I just thought my body was maybe messed up," World Peace said. "I was like, 'Yeah, 15 years is a lot of years. I got two more years on my contract and I could potentially be done.'"
The pain in his L4 and L5 vertebrae was affecting World Peace's jumping ability and range of motion in his legs and feet. Although the problem was identified last May, the 32-year-old forward was unable to participate in a rehab program with the Lakers' training staff for most of the year, since contact between team employees and players was banned during the lockout. World Peace came into camp overweight and with work to be done on his back, but says he's "getting in more shape every day."
While World Peace could still be amnestied by the Lakers later this year, his improved health has significantly reduced the likelihood of retirement.
"They set me up with a great program and I've been jumping, rebounding and, wow," World Peace said. "Now that I'm taking care of my body, I don't know. I don't know what could happen now. But, I'll just keep working hard and see where it takes me."