EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Mihm has re-signed with the team after missing all of last season following reconstructive ankle surgery.
"I gave a big sigh of relief," Mihm said in a conference call Thursday. "I'm excited to be back here and put on a Laker uniform, which I wanted to do from the beginning."
Mihm, an unrestricted free agent who turned 28 on Monday, had averaged career highs of 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.24 blocked shots in 59 games during the 2005-06 season.
Paid $4.2 million by the Lakers for last season, the 7-foot, 265-pound Mihm underwent surgery in November to repair a ligament and tendon in his right ankle and to realign his heel bone.
His absence was particularly critical for the Lakers because they have had a lack of depth in the middle.
The new deal is for three years. No other terms were announced.
Mihm injured his ankle in the final minute of a game against Seattle on March 12, 2006, and played just once the rest of that season.
He said he has been going through long, grueling workouts, has felt no pain in the ankle and doesn't even think about it when he's on the court.
"I have the utmost confidence in myself and this ankle, that I'm going to come out and show everyone that not only am I back, but that I can be better than I ever was," he said.
He was acquired by the Lakers from the Boston Celtics along with Chucky Atkins and Jumaine Jones for Gary Payton, Rick Fox and a first-round draft pick on Aug. 13, 2004.
Mihm has averaged 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 395 career NBA games.