Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who's always been a strong defensive presence, has used his free time during the NBA lockout wisely by whipping himself into shape.
Having missed most of the 2010-11 season due to a torn ACL in his right knee, Perkins weighed in at the end of last year at 298 pounds. Not happy with his status, he set a goal to weigh 275 pounds by the start of training camp. His end result? 267—a loss of more than 30 pounds.
To lose the weight, Perkins began an intense regimen of running, lifting and court work during this past off-season. He spent about three hours most mornings lifting weights and doing conditioning work, specifically focusing on strengthening his knee. After the weight room workout, he would hit the court for pick-up games and shooting practice.
But Perkins realized that just working out would not be enough to help him lose weight. To get big results, he hired a nutritionist to guide him in making smart eating decisions.
"I was just eating whatever I wanted," Perkins says. "You have to change up your diet a little bit. But there were a lot of things that were healthy on the menu that I actually liked. I feel a ton better… It's just a sacrifice you've got to put in."
The sacrifice paid off. At the end of last year, Perkins struggled with jumping high enough to dunk. Now he's "got some kind of hops," he says. Others have seen the change, too. "He's getting up and down the floor better, he's finishing better, defending a whole lot better," says teammate and point guard Eric Maynor.
Perkins continues, "Before I got hurt, I was one of those guys who was able to switch out on a guard and [defend] him…without help. I was just trying to get back to those days and even better."
Just because he's leaner doesn't mean he'll be less strong in the paint. If anything, his heightened athleticism will make him a bigger threat, a tougher defensive enforcer.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
Photo: Yahoo! Sports
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock