Sports Out West

Lakers news: Kobe Bryant could return by Friday

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant may make his long awaited season debut in next Friday’s game on the road against the Sacramento Kings, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The 35-year-old has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center, but did participate in Saturday’s light practice that mostly consisted of half-court and five-on-zero drills.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni stated that he will use the three practices in the four day lay off  between Sunday and Friday this upcoming week to get a better gauge on where the 15-time All-Star is at in his rehabilitation process for his surgically-repaired left Achilles tendon.

“I don’t want to anticipate anything,” D’Antoni said after practice Saturday. “Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward.

“That doesn’t mean he will play Friday, doesn’t mean he won’t. But that’s the time you just evaluate, and I can’t tell you what type of evaluation that will be.”

 As for how Bryant looked in Saturday’s practice, Jodie Meeks did not see any rustiness on court from his teammate.

“He wasn’t really rusty,” Meeks said. “I’m sure he’s been getting a bunch of shots up.

“We prepare as if he’s not going to play right now. When he comes back, we’ll be happy to have him. He’ll obviously make the game a lot easier for us.”

Although Bryant appears to be nearing a return to the court, D’Antoni was cautious in giving an exact timetable for the 18-year veteran.

“He’ll be listed pretty soon as ‘day to day,'” D’Antoni said. “And everybody knows that’s the way it is. When he’s ready to roll, he’ll go.

“We’ll have three days of practice, and then we’ll know better. We’ll have a better idea.”

Whatever the case may be, it all points to this upcoming week of practice being a huge indicator of where Bryant is at in his attempt to comeback from a major injury such as an Achilles tear. With that said, his return is imminent and it will be soon.

Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.