By Jessica Camerato
Kendrick Perkins grabbed a basketball and hoisted up a long-range shot in between quarters of last week's Celtics-Nuggets game.
Nothing but . . . air.
"You seen that shot?" he laughed. "I couldnt get my suit jacket up."
Perkins continues to stay close to the game while he rehabs from a right knee injury he suffered during the NBA Finals. He supports his team from the bench at the TD Garden and goes through drills of his own at the Celtics practice facility.
Last month Perkins filled CSNNE.com in on four things to know about his rehab. He recently shared new updates on his road to recovery as he eyes a return to the court in February.
STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Perkins was fitted for a new knee brace last week and plans to begin wearing it on Tuesday. He anticipates the latest brace will allow him to do even more on the court.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said. "I think I'm starting to do more basketball things. Last Wednesday I got measured for my knee brace, so it's been cool. It means I can start doing more court work, stuff like that."
A JUMP SHOOTER IN THE MAKING
Perkins' goals go beyond returning healthy. He wants to return a better basketball player, too, and is focusing on specific areas of his game.
"Believe it or not, just more of my jumper, just touch around the 12, 15-foot area," he said. "If I have a shot, take it, stuff like that. And improving my free-throw shooting (60.4 FT career), that's been my thing. So I'm trying to drop a few more pounds. I want to lose about 10 more to get down to 260."
AN UNDERSTANDING EAR
Perkins is just one of several injured players on the Celtics. While he's there to listen if teammates like Delonte West and Jermaine ONeal want to talk, he also respects the sensitivity of their situations.
"Yeah, in a way I do give them advice, but at times it's like, what can you tell a guy?" he said. "You can tell him to stay positive, just pull him along to work out with you, things like that. Other than that, you don't really want to pile too much on him because I know it's a difficult time."
NEW SOURCE OF STRENGTH
As Perkins' physical strength improves, so does his mental endurance. Perkins, who turned 26 last month, has learned a lot about himself in the past six months.
"I think mentally you grow better as a person," he reflected. "It's easy when things are going good for you. You can always stay in the flow of things. But when there's adversity against you, it's how you deal with it. So I think mentally I became stronger.
"Obviously I want to be back out there on the court, but other than that, things are going real well."
Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba.