Lonnie Walker IV addressed the media on Tuesday following a workout with the Austin Spurs, brandishing a smile that’s become as much a part of his look as his signature hairdo. Roughly seven weeks after undergoing surgery for a tear in his right meniscus during a preseason game, Walker said he was pain-free and feeling better everyday:
“The knee’s great, honestly. It feels like I’m back to Lonnie Walker, you know, just continuing to find my rhythm and everything. Day by day, it’s nothing but improvement. Every day I can see significant difference on my leg and just how I play overall.”
Walker appears to be on schedule with the 6-8 week time frame originally provided, saying he expects to return to action this week — albeit first with the Austin Spurs, who have been practicing in San Antonio while the main squad is on its 4-game road trip:
“First game’s on Friday, but with the G-League team, so I’ll be playing down in Austin for a few days. Minutes restriction and stuff, but just trying to get a rhythm, get a feel for the game, you know it’s been a little while. My time will come, but it’s gonna be real soon when it comes to being officially back up.”
How hungry is this summer’s 18th overall pick to rejoin the main team? Plenty, he says.
“I’m starving, but you gotta crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run. It’s all about stages and taking steps little by little. Once my opportunity comes, hopefully I can play the best I can play.”
As excited as he is to return to the court, Walker also voiced patience and an appreciation for the process that will get him to playing basketball at a high level. He should know, having undergone the same injury in the same knee last summer.
“It’s like any other process. Any adversity that comes my way, it’s easy to me. I have a very strong mentality, and I know how to approach it. This is my second time doing this and I know how to work on it and keep that confidence level at an even keel.”
Mid-thought, Walker pivoted from himself to the organization, noting the support he’s received from teammates and staff and reiterating how he feels being in San Antonio:
“Most of all, Coach Pop, R.C., Tim Duncan have been here, helping me out and continuing to encourage me, not to mention pretty much all the other teammates — DJ and things like that. I’m just blessed to be here.”