HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kobe Bryant‘s seven-game injury hiatus is scheduled to come to an end Friday, when the Los Angeles Lakers head to San Antonio for another showdown with the Spurs.
With the playoffs just a days away, Bryant told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he will get back on the floor against the Spurs to test his sore shin and to try to find his rhythm before the regular season ends:
Bryant has missed the past seven games with a shin injury, but said he expects to return Friday when the Lakers visit the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers also play the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday at home before ending the regular season by visiting the Sacramento Kings on April 26. The Lakers could decide to sit Bryant against the Kings because the playoffs begin two days later.
“It will kind of establish my rhythm more,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ victory over the Golden State Warriors. “It finishes the season up the right way and generates the momentum we need toward the postseason.”
Bryant went through a tough on-court workout with Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy about three hours before the Warriors game. Bryant was healthy enough to play against Golden State, but the Lakers opted to give him another couple days of rest.
Bryant last played April 6. He said he’s never worried the injury was serious, and he began targeting his return a few days ago.
“It just takes time for it to heal,” Bryant said. “There is nothing you can do to expedite it. You just have to sit and wait.”
The Lakers’ 5-2 record without Bryant showed that they could survive without the face of the franchise in the short-term. But the time off provided Bryant with some clarity about this team.
Any doubts he might have had about what his team could accomplish disappeared as he watched both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol dominate teams, at times, in his absence.
“I feel very good about it,” Bryant told Spears. “I believe it’s a championship team. I know it when I see it.”