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Ice bags in demand after first practice

Ice bags in demand after first practiceLAFAYETTE -- The ice man cometh to Cajun country. And it was a good thing.

After a first-day workout that lasted a little more than 3 1/2 hours, the Hornets' training and equipment staff was busy distributing more than 40 ice bags to the 17 players in training camp.

"More than a normal day," equipment manager David Jovanovic said of the total number of swelling-reducing packs used Tuesday.

All-Star forward David West sat on the sideline of Louisiana-Lafayette's Moncla Indoor Practice Facility with a bag on his back, one on each knee, and one on his left hamstring. All-Star guard Chris Paul had both knees iced.

Rookie No. 1 draft pick Darren Collison walked around with ice attached to the back of each calf.

Forward Julian Wright had his knees and calves iced down.

"As advertised," Collison said of his first day in an NBA camp. "We were cramping a little bit, but it's something you just have to push through."

Coach Byron Scott said 3 1/2-hour workouts probably won't be the norm this week.

"It just happened to work out that way," Scott said. "And I did take one section of the practice out, because we had guys starting to cramp up. All of a sudden guys' backs started to get tight, hamstrings started to get tight.

"So I took out a couple of things to make sure I didn't kill the guys. But again, it was probably one of the best first days we've had. And probably one of the hardest."

OLD NUMBER, NEW 'TUDE: Hornets guard Morris Peterson is sporting a chiseled physique, a carefree demeanor and a different number.

No longer will Peterson wear No. 9 -- this season it belongs to newly acquired forward Darius Songaila.

Peterson instead has switched back to No. 24, which he wore with the Toronto Raptors, after wearing No. 42 at Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans win a national championship.

"It's something I thought about last year," Peterson said, "but they said you needed a year to do it. I like 9, but 9 had to retire. I had to bring back 24. I just got back this summer to doing some of the things that made me successful. Not just the number, but becoming the player I know I can be. And working at it."

A year ago, Peterson started the season as the Hornets' No. 1 shooting guard. But an early season leg injury sidelined him, opening the door for Rasual Butler, who seized the moment and Peterson's job.

Butler was traded over the summer to the Los Angeles Clippers, and Peterson is committed to regaining the form that made him a double-digit scorer for four of his seven seasons with the Raptors; his best a 16.8 average in 2005-06. One step toward that change was a number switch.

"You can't go wrong with 2-4," said Peterson, who spent a great deal of time in the gym, honing his mental approach to the game. "I won't say I got away from that. But looking at the injuries I had last year, and some the year before and playing through it, I just know heading into my 10th season how important it is to take care of your body. And that's something I got really focused on this summer."

QUICK TICKETS: The Hornets on Tuesday made 850 free tickets for Saturday's practice available to the public, with a limit of four per person.

The tickets were gone in 30 minutes.

Saturday's workout is scheduled for the Earl K. Long gym on the ULL campus.

ADDITIONAL BODIES: The Hornets have two additional players in camp this week, flushing out the roster to 17.

Free-agents Earl Barron and Larry Owens, both veterans of the Hornets' Las Vegas Summer League team, will join the workouts.

Owens, a 6-foot-7 forward from Oral Roberts, averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 12 minutes this summer. In the 2008 summer league, also with the Hornets , Owens averaged 6.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 16.3 minutes in six games.

Barron, a 7-foot center, averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 points this summer, and started all five games. From Memphis, he played with the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA Development League last season and was part of the Miami Heat's 2006 championship team, though he was not on the postseason roster.

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Jimmy Smith can be reached at or 504.826.3814.

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Added: October 1, 2009


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