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Kobe Bryant practices with Lakers, says: ‘If there was a playoff game tonight, I’d play’

Nov 16, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Yao Ming & Kobe Bryant Attend NBA Fans Appreciation Day Getty Images

Kobe Bryant has yet to take the floor for the Lakers this season, after suffering a torn Achilles injury back in April that required surgery and the requisite amount of extensive rehab that traditionally follows.

But he is back on the practice court, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

After seven months of rehabilitating a torn Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant finally returned to practice with theLos Angeles Lakers on Saturday, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Bryant has made remarkable progress from such serious injury, but it’s unclear how long it will take for him to return to play his first game this season. All along, Bryant had hoped he could play his first game within two to three weeks of his return to practice. Still, his debut will depend on how he progresses in full-contact workouts with his team.

Without him L.A. is off to a predictably slow start, sitting at just 4-7 through the team’s first 11 games.

Kobe is not giving a timetable for his return. However, speaking in an interview with NBA TV on Friday, Bryant says if these were playoff games, he would be back on the court trying to help his team.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

“I feel like I’m ahead of schedule,” Bryant told former teammate Rick Fox in an interview for NBA TV on Friday. “If there was a playoff game tonight, I’d play. I’d play. I don’t know how effective I’d be, but I would play.

“The fadeaway still works, the ballhandling, being able to post. Those are things that I can do right now. But it’s not the playoffs, thank god.”

Bryant has been back on the practice court going through shooting drills during the past week, according to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. The attempts have been more of the game-ready, jump-shot variety than the modified set shooting that Bryant was already able to do during training camp.

What Bryant appears to be saying here is that he could help in a limited capacity if it was absolutely necessary. But that doesn’t mean you can expect to see him back on the floor before he’s as close to 100 percent physically as possible.

Bryant continues to say all the right things about his rehabilitation. He has no target date set, because given his personality, that would drive him to meet that goal at any cost, even if it wasn’t the best thing for his long-term health.

As soon as he’s able to, Bryant will make his return. The question remains whether or not his presence will help push this Lakers team to a winning record, and maybe even a chance to compete in the playoffs.

  1. NYTolstoy - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    il believe it when I see it. This is the same guy who said he would be ready for opening day. It’s gonna take a long time to get back to 100% if he ever gets that well.

  2. fiyeaglesfiy - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    This is one of the few draft picks that the lakers for the next few years and this draft is allegedly loaded with talent…I don’t expect this team to realistically be able to contend. Would serve the lakers well long term to tank, add a new stud to become Kobe’s heir. Kobe shouldn’t rush back, get to 100% so he can better help the team the following year.

    • mackcarrington - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      I don’t know if you live in LA or not. People don’t pay the prices they do at Staples center to watch the Lakers “tank”.
      That crap might play well in Atlanta or Carolina, but not in LA. Now, if Mitch just puts together a crappy team, they might be able to get away with it on the sly. Maybe you can call this their “tank” season, because everyone knows they are in a holding pattern with a bunch of 1 year contracts to clear cap space for next year. If the lakers are going to “tank” this season, they better at least look like they are trying to win.

  3. sportsfan18 - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Well, since this is talking about a hypothetical situation, I’d like to also point out that if there were playoff games today, the Lakers would be at home as they are currently in 12th place overall in the Western Conference… or just a few places out of the 8th and final spot.

    No worries Kobe, doesn’t look like you’ll need to play tonight, hypothetically speaking that is.

  4. jerdogthompson - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I’m shocked, another Laker article and yet no Laker fan whining about the failed CP3 trade. I guess its early though.

    • Anoesis - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      It’s the PBT required at-least-once-every-three-days “update” on Bryant’s recovery. Most Lakers fans tired of these posts weeks ago, but they’re here to get clicks and PBT knows there will always be anti-Lakers trolls that will click and post snarky comments. PBT thanks you.

      Those comments about the league arbitrarily vetoing the Paul trade are generally posted on articles that happen to be about, or mention, the vetoed Paul trade. The Clippers and their fans should resolve to buy Stern drinks whenever he’s in town, since without that egregious miscarriage of authority your team is still suck-city instead of lob-city.

      By the way, it IS early. The other adults should be along soon, but it will be past your bedtime.

      • jimeejohnson - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        “,,,there will always be Lakers trolls that will click and post snarky comments.”

    • psung26 - Nov 16, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      It wasn’t a “failed” trade.

      The teams agreed. There was quid pro quo. The trade went through.

      Then Stern with a blatant conflict of interest and abuse of discretion veteod the trade. Never happened before in league history.

      The trade didn’t fail, your comment did.

  5. 8man - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    They are 4-7. How is anyone losing to these guys? Is the NBA paying teams to take dives until Kobe returns?

    Nothing in LA matters. Unless you count Hollywood…oh wait….nothing in LA matters.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      “Nothing in LA matters. Unless you count Hollywood…oh wait….nothing in LA matters.”

      I guess you don’t consume any media then.

    • Anoesis - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      The second-largest media market in the country doesn’t matter? (Read that in Billy Crystal’s Mike Wazowski character from Monsters, Inc.)

      Nice try, 8-ball, but even the NFL (despite no team in L.A. for almost 20 years and counting) has its broadcast center there. L.A. boasts 23 major professional sports championships. UCLA leads the nation’s colleges and universities with 109 NCAA championships. The city has hosted two Olympic games. The last, in 1984, was the first to turn a profit and served as the model that reinvigorated the Olympic movement.

      The greater L.A. area has a population in excess of 17 million. Area industry boasts huge corporate employers from computers (Western Digital) to medicine (Amgen) to petroleum (Occidental) to aerospace and defense (Boeing, Hughes, Lear, TRW, Rockwell, General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Northrop, Litton, NASA, etc).

      Los Angeles is the largest major manufacturing center in the country. Steel fabrication is the 2nd largest in the country. Only Detroit makes more cars and trucks in the U.S.

      L.A. has the largest port complex in the country. All that Chinese crap you like to buy at Walmart, along with quality stuff from places like Japan, come here through L.A. The city’s prominence in international trade is evidenced by the nearly 50 U.S. headquarters of foreign companies located in the area.

      Hollywood? Movie studios (Disney, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Columbia, MGM) to television (in excess of 70 major production companies). The Entertainment Capital of the World. Nuff said.

      The state of California has the world’s 8th-largest economy. If California was a sovereign country its economy would be #8. If the greater L.A. area was a separate country it would rank #16. In the world.

      Love it (41.4 million tourists in 2012) or hate it (folks like you), but L.A. most certainly matters in virtually any category you choose. The simple fact that you took the time to click on and post on this story shows that even you think it matters enough to say it doesn’t matter.

      • mydoghasfleez - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        LA is also the world’s center of the porn industry.

  6. lakerade - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    It’s okay to admit it, Kobe is still in your head.

  7. 777cockymoney - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    lebron is better than this clown. Great! Now he can shoot 100 fgs a game again. Do your team a fav kobe. Pass the dam ball

  8. 777cockymoney - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Lebron is a better scorer, a better passer, a better rebounder, he’s faster, more athletic, a higher jumper, a better defensive player, he’s more efficient, he’s tougher, he’s a better team player. How could you possibly think that Kobe is better? I bet you’re a bias Lakers fan.

  9. jhuck92 - Nov 17, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Kobe has a kind of drive I haven’t seen since MJ. My respect for him only grows with each comment he makes. I truly am going to miss him and his willingness to compete when he retires.

  10. jimsjam33 - Nov 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Kobe is finished and so are the Lakers . Reach out for Wiggins , Parker , or Randle . that’s your only hope . Lottery

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