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Kobe Bryant says he won’t return Friday, but doesn’t rule out playing Sunday at home vs. Raptors

Dec 4, 2013, 10:53 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant is back to practicing at full speed this week, and while many hoped that would mean a return to real game action as soon as Friday on the road against the Kings in Sacramento, Bryant himself said on Wednesday that wouldn’t be the case.

Speaking to many reporters one-on-one at the unveiling of his latest signature sneaker from Nike at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, Bryant confirmed that Friday would not be his first game back from the Achilles injury that he suffered near the end of last season.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

Kobe Bryant has ruled himself out for the Los Angeles Lakers’ road game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, the 18-year veteran told on Wednesday.

While Bryant won’t be making his long-awaited return from Achilles surgery against the Kings, after two consecutive days of practices, Bryant said he is moving into game-to-game territory when considering his comeback. Meaning, playing in the Lakers’ home game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday is still a possibility for Bryant.

“It feels that way,” Bryant said at the launch event for his new Nike “Kobe 9” signature sneaker at the MOCA in downtown Los Angeles. “It feels pretty good. This is the second day now that I’ve been able to get out there and move around and play and play pretty well and it felt like I could do anything that I wanted to do out there on the floor, so, we progress to (Thursday). On to tomorrow. Let’s see if I can go three days straight and then have another hard workout on Friday and kind of measure it accordingly.”

Exactly how Bryant emerges from those consecutive days of practice will determine whether or not he’s ready to return to action. The Lakers have fared surprisingly well while he’s been out, posting a .500 record of 9-9 through the team’s first 18 games of the season.

Bryant’s return will be disruptive initially for a variety of reasons. But once he gets back into the flow and acclimates to his new teammates who are playing fully immersed in Mike D’Antoni’s system, it will be of league-wide interest to see if Bryant can have enough of an impact to push the Lakers into the playoff picture in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

  1. jerdogthompson - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Ask me if I care. Go ahead and ask.

    • psung26 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      Jerdogthompson, do you care?

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      Do you care enough to comment?

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:04 AM

      We don’t have to, you already made it clear that you are shivering in your Tim’ boots jerdog just by that statement alone.

  2. asimonetti88 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    It would be cool if he made his comeback at home.

  3. midnite2020 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    dou you care bro?

  4. wfon1 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Whats the rush Kobe?? Slow it down. Still a lot of time in the season.

  5. bubbalynch - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    He’s scared that D Cuz will smack him into the 2nd row of the court side seats! (Real Story)

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      Cuz ain’t about that life. He plays a good part though

  6. antistratfordian - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    You could tell from the way he was hesitant to jump off his left foot the other day that he just wasn’t there yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t come back Sunday either.

    • lhollis74 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      Anti, you are such a donkey. Kobe has been practicing multiple days for several hours each day, and you made that statement based on a less than 5 second video clip. He was hesitant to jump off his left? Or maybe he was jumping off his right in rhythm going towards the rim from the left side. You are an idiot, and that comment is made considering the many other previous posts you’ve had.
      But I must also say, if you are under 16 years old, that explains you’re entire thought process and limited knowledge, and I apologize for my disparaging comments about you, but only if you’re under 16!

      • lhollis74 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:25 AM

        “Your thought process, not you’re”

      • antistratfordian - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:10 AM

        You don’t have to apologize, friend. That was tame compared to what I normally receive. But I won’t hold your emotional outburst against you, like I do with your brethren – as long as you check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    • davidly - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      You actually see footage of this hesitation, troll, or are you inferring it from his having dunked with his left hand?

      • antistratfordian - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:14 AM

        We all saw it. And Kobe is going to be thinking about his left achilles for quite some time still – so get comfortable with the idea.

    • htownraiderfan - Dec 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      @anti – coaches taught me from youth to college opposite foot and hand because it makes it harder for the defender to block your shot and allows you maximum lift. Not sure how using basic basketball skills makes Kobe afraid to jump off his left foot. But by reading your comments you know more than everyone else.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM

        Maximum lift? Well your coaches were wrong about that point.

        Obviously you want to be able to finish with both hands and off of both feet – Kobe can do that well – I can do that well – a lot of great ballers can do that very well. But on fast breaks all of us like to go with what comes most naturally, even when we’re being lazy. Indeed, the only clip you can find of Kobe taking off of his right foot and dunking with his left hand on a fast break is the one in question. You won’t find Jordan doing that either. LeBron James is left handed but you won’t find a clip of him doing that either – in fact, LeBron’s most famous left handed fast break dunk (windmill all-star game 2012) was off of his left foot.

        And I should point out the obvious (now painfully obvious) – it isn’t a stretch to suggest that a guy who just shredded his left achilles is trying to avoid jumping off of it if he doesn’t need to.

        PS. I didn’t say anything about being “afraid” – I am not trying to suggest that he is afraid of it. He is being cautious and there is nothing wrong with that.

  7. 00maltliquor - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    So when he does either day, what will you say then………cause we allllll know you will say something…..negative.

    But honestly, I love your act G. Your keeping the comment hits up on this site, so keep ’em coming.

    • JHathwell - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      really? he’s not even a good troll. good trolls are intelligent enough and subtle enough to be taken seriously. this kid is neither.

  8. lakerade - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    Kobe getting back into game shape, haters getting back into shame gape. It makes me smile to think that while I am enjoying The Last Chapter, however it goes, so many others will be watching the same thing trying their hardest not to care but still finding themselves feeling something. No other player in the league has this kind of draw, to affect so many by mere mention, by simple posing of possibilities. Get all your stats and observations and declarations ready, Mamba makes you do it. Again.

  9. cluelessdufus - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    Not a Lakers fan,but I have always loved watching Kobe play. I just hope he is ready, there is no rush in coming back considering that the Lakers aren’t terrible.Kobe may not be Kobe back in his prime but someone you can never forget on the court, he is bound to go off each night and even with his injury he is still one of the best pure scorers ever.

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