Lakers Ready For Kobe’s Return


VIDEO: The GameTime crew talks Kobe’s return

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – No Facebook post. No dramatic music to underscore man’s struggles against the forces of nature, or that it gets windy some days. No two-minute video extravaganza.

Just a two-second comment from coach Mike D’Antoni when asked what he aniticpates from the return of Kobe Bryant:

“That he’ll be a dominant player.”

Bryant is almost back, and so are the expectations. The recovery from the torn Achilles’ tendon suffered April 12 that started with the uncertainty of whether he would miss most of 2013-14 advanced to where there was talk from the Lakers that their superstar shooting guard could return for opening night. That talk downshifted over concerns of rushing the comeback got a finish line Friday. He will play Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV).

Lakers against the Raptors. Bryant against his basketball mortality.

“You definitely saw in practice that he felt ready,” said Robert Sacre, who took over as the new starting center Friday against the Kings at Sleep Train Arena as D’Antoni shuffled the lineup in the final pre-Kobe tuneup. “It didn’t look like anything was wrong with him. We just had to trust his judgment and go with that.”

D’Antoni said nothing has been decided on time restrictions for Bryant, and he stayed in Southern California for additional workouts and therapy rather than travel to Sacramento. But Bryant has done well to keep his focus on the long term over the pressing desire to play as soon as possible. Indeed, he was cleared to return to full basketball activities, but wanted to put the left leg through five-on-five practices, get as much timing back as possible and build up his stamina before actually coming back.

“Practice, he has looked good, but we’ll to wait until we get to game time,” D’Antoni said when asked what makes him believe Bryant is ready. “It’s a different level. But, it’s Kobe Bryant, so he’ll figure it out one way or the other. I’m sure there’ll be some rough spots. There’s no way that he’s a hundred percent to start with, but he’ll work his way into game shape and everything else. It’s going to be a positive.”

And if Bryant has to make adjustments in deference to a repaired Achilles’ tendon and being 35 years old?

“He might,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know. We won’t know until we see him. But he can play any way. He can play below the rim, above the rim, beside the rim. He’ll figure out how he will be effective, and then he’ll come at you with everything he’s got. That’s been his MO and I think that’s what he’ll do.”

In other news involving a Hall-of-Fame bound Lakers guard trying to regenerate, Steve Nash is encouraged by rehabilitation from nerve damage in his back, but is not yet setting a target date for a return. D’Antoni said Nash is “still a little doubtful” for Sunday against Toronto and Nash also downplayed chances of an appearance, saying, “I would imagine if we’re conservative tonight [in staying out Friday] we’ll probably be conservative for Sunday. But we haven’t really had that conversation yet.”

After Sunday, the Lakers next play Tuesday against the Suns, before a four-game trip to Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis. Whenever Nash returns, it will likely be with a restriction on minutes, and that’s on top of the original plan to limit back-to-backs.

“It got a little bit better this week, or at least I was able to get some practices in, and that’s positive,” said Nash, who last played Nov. 10. “But I’m still not sure on a return or anything like that.”

43 Comments

  1. kobeballhog says:

    kobe has loyalty??? what a joke he bashed on his teammates back. talk smack against them. bashes on management demanding a trade, blames everyone when the team losses, of course now he has loyalty the team gave in on his demand for a big paycheck. talk about loyalty money talks man.

  2. Ginny Smith says:

    Kobe was the rookie of the year, Kobe is a 5 time NBA Champion. Kobe is a 3 time Olympic Gold medalist. Kobe is a 15 time All-Star. Kobe is a 1 time MVP. Kobe is a scoring champion. Kobe is a 4 time Finals MVP. NO WORK ETHIC? PLEASE SO DISRESPECTFUL!

  3. kobeballhog says:

    Kobe is the best ballhog player ever please comeback we need you to put up 40 shots a game

  4. Chris says:

    God you people. Yes kobe has work ethic but come on, every single post following that stupid comment is the exact same post saying the exact same thing in different words. When someone says something, do you go and repeat it again and again and again? Lay off the damn “He has no work ethic?” comments please. It’s boring up this comment forum.

    Kobe will eventually become a strong baller again over time, no doubt, Lots of people expected his return to be exciting but that video he or whoever released (jersey vid) was kinda lame. The NBA and it’s players are becoming too dramatic these days. No need for superman type videos showing you are coming back to the nba after an injury.

  5. Kobe is the best player EVER and will dominate in his first game back without a doubt

  6. beastfit says:

    Here is my article from a couple days ago about Kobe’s return and the Lakers. Check it out, let me know what you think! http://www.beastfitethan.com/los-angeles-lakers-dark-knight-rises/

  7. Kobe has loyalty toward gm. unlike lbj jump off the board . we did not really he won a ring . it is cheap ring to get it.
    kobe has earned his legacy.

  8. TS says:

    You folks realized you just posted 5 blogs in a row about the Lakers. My hope is someday you folks remember, that there is 30 teams in the NBA. Not 1.

  9. grouch says:

    Hi Mr. Greenfarb,

    What lack of work ethics are you referring to? and comparing him with Westbrook? I did not see Kobe in practice (like really there in the gym) ……but have you??

    It’s not about Kobe finding his old self but his mere presence and quality minutes will augment the new young Lakers team. For a team with no Nash, Kaman, Kobe and Farmar and to be over 0.500 is an achievement itself.

  10. johnnysamra1 says:

    kobe is the best and will beat all the odds like he always does , the best player in my opinion , go lakers

  11. dess says:

    you comparing achilles injury with meniscus? stupid idiot?

  12. dess says:

    @Joshua I guess u only watch with eyes u dont really digest with ur brain……Kobe and Russell got injured just about the same time and Kobe’s was even more serious……U called the best competitor in the game ever not having a work ethic….I dont ever see you to be a model to any generation in whatever you do.Kobe has been the greatest in the past 12yrs but this is Lebron time and everybody understands that cos nobody rules forever.You re so foolish to have made your way to this forum…

  13. kb4ever says:

    get outa here hater!

  14. dylan19 says:

    I hope Kobe is not rushing…coz the road still long…Love NBA…

  15. Ricky says:

    Kobe’s debut will be a blast! #vsToronto #80points

  16. J says:

    It’s all good.

  17. Dir says:

    Joshua are you for real? You may not like him but saying he has no work ethic, you really gotta be reasoning differently than a rational person.

  18. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    You all know why this is, right? Not necessarily due to age (although that may be part of it).

    It’s because Bryant is not in “good shape.” He has zero work ethic.

    To come back from major injury successfully (and without re-injury), you got to have incredible work ethic like Russell Westbrook. You probably have to play basketball all year-round.

    You can’t just decide to try to get into NBA game shape at a whim. You can’t just turn it on and off like some … some radio.

    Last season was Kobe Bryant’s last hurrah. And it came at the expense of the franchise and forced Howard away cause he ballhogged too much. Now, it’s over. Sorry, Laker fans, don’t get your hopes up. Bryant’s career is over. He’s past his prime and will likely never fully recover from major injury.

    • not a lakers fan says:

      First of all, kobe having no work ethics? come on, know your history, son. Second, comparing him to Westbrooks is just blasphemous. Kobe past his prime is still better than half of the league. Kobe having no work ethic? come on, son.

    • What? says:

      You are delusional man hahaha!

      Kobe has the best work ethic and that’s why he’s back this early! He had an Achilles tear for crying out loud! You’re comparing it to Westbrook’s injury!? Hahaha

      You know why he wasn’t playing basketball all year round? Because he couldn’t walk!!! Hahaha the lack of intelligence in today’s society is mind blowing, I can only laugh.

    • Ry says:

      Kobe’s career over? I beg to differ, he’s coming back Sunday and by the the time the 2nd half of the season rolls around he’ll be lighting up the NBA once again. So prepare to eat your words.

    • wizard says:

      “He has zero work ethic.”

      You probably a troll but this statement invalidates everything you said before and after it

    • cs55 says:

      No work ethic? Can’t believe I just read that right now. Even Lebron fans aren’t that delusional.

    • greenfart says:

      lol kobe is not in good shape and has zero work ethic? seriously do you even watch or know anything about basketball? this is just sad

    • are you serious? says:

      I’m sorry did you just say Kobe Bryant has zero work ethic? are you actually %$#&ing serious? I hope you are a troll or you literally have no idea what you are talking about.

    • hope you are joking.

    • Aussie Aussie says:

      I’m sorry, but did you just say Kobe Bryant has no work Ethic? are you actually that stupid. I’m a clippers fan, But the amount of stupidity to say that Kobe Bryant hasn’t got one of if not the best work ethics in the game is just crazy. Have you noticed that Kobe Bryant last year had one of his best years in his career, at the age of 34? through his WORK ETHIC in maintaining his body, knowing his body, and continuing to work that little bit harder to keep up with the young guys. Don’t even comment if you’re going to be so idiotic

    • Matt says:

      Kobe Bryant…zero work ethic? You’re kidding , right?

    • Queirós says:

      I read your comment and stopped once you said he has zero work ethic,,, No one gets to the level this man is in without a looooooooot of work put into it.

      Anyways, what are you smoking? That’s some seriously good stuff!

    • Bballfan says:

      Kobe Bryant has zero work ethic?

    • Jonas says:

      Zero work ethic? This has to be the single most stupid comment I ever saw in my life…

    • wha? says:

      what immature heat fans doing here?

    • Joshua Greenfarb stop talking! says:

      What are you even talking about? you make NO sense

    • Lakers lifer says:

      Dude you know nothing of basketball or Kobe Bryant if you think he has no work ethic…

    • Duwanye says:

      Most idiotic comment ever said about Kobe. No work ethic? Do you even watch basketball?

    • daft G says:

      Hahaha kobe ZERO WORK ETHIC??

      this is the most hillarious and unintelligent post ive read here for a LOOOOOONG time

  19. okc2014 says:

    That’s good for the Lakers but as an OKC fan, I just don’t really care or see how that will affect me or my team.