From NBA.com staff reports
The Lakers seemed to be getting some better news in regards to their walking-wounded crew, what with Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake being cleared to resume basketball-related activities and Steve Nash getting somewhat closer to a return. While those players coming back is nice for Los Angeles, the one name Lakers’ fans have been clamoring to see back on the court is Kobe Bryant.
They’ll have to wait at least a few weeks longer. BleacherReport.com’s Kevin Ding reports that Bryant will miss two to four more additional weeks to heal up from his knee fracture:
If you’re not accustomed by now to Kobe Bryant sitting out and the Los Angeles Lakers losing, weeks more are still to come.
The fractured lateral tibial plateau in Bryant’s left knee hasn’t healed yet, even though the Lakers had initially been pointing to a medical re-evaluation Tuesday as a point at which he might be cleared to play. Bryant’s level of discomfort is such that his visit with Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo on Tuesday evening before the Lakers face the Indiana Pacers will not even include an MRI or any other diagnostic procedure to judge the bone’s healing, according to a team source.
Bryant is expected to miss at least two more weeks, perhaps even another month.
The Lakers are 4-16 since Bryant’s knee fracture was diagnosed and will struggle to turn that around without him, although injured point guards Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar might be back next week.
Bryant has been reluctant to start the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in New Orleans after being voted in by the fans. That matter seems likely now to resolve itself: If Bryant isn’t back for the Lakers by then, he won’t have to play at all in the All-Star Game and the NBA will name an injury replacement for him. If Bryant misses another two weeks exactly, that would leave two Lakers games for him to play before the All-Star break.
Bryant’s original diagnosis was to miss approximately six weeks; Thursday marks six weeks from that announcement.
At 16-29, the Lakers are tied with the Utah Jazz for the second-worst record in the conference. Nash, for his part, told Ding that he feels like he’s ready to go and help L.A. climb out of this massive hole. But when he and Bryant will team up on the court again remains to be seen.
A bearded Nash, looking fresh out of a Rocky workout montage, said Monday that he might actually be good to go. Like Bryant, he has played only six games this season—although the two of them have never played together—because of a major nerve-root issue in his back that has limited his legs.
“I don’t feel the nerve irritation,” Nash said Monday after returning from his latest extended rehab session in Vancouver. “Thus far, as I’ve ramped up training and rehab, I’ve been able to sustain more and more demands, so that we feel like it’s safe to practice now.”
But in a scene that epitomized everything about Nash’s two seasons as a Laker, he had only a handful of minutes of optimism Monday morning about his progress before another setback.
“Woke up, jumped out of bed, ready to go,” he said. “I reached for something and kind of tweaked something.”
Nash said the tweak, unrelated to the nerve irritation, is “fine” and he intends to go through Lakers practice Thursday, though he doesn’t expect to play Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Lakers’ last game before that trip to Minnesota, Cleveland and Philadelphia begins next Tuesday.
Regardless of how Nash heals up, Kobe’s comeback being put on hold puts another damper on a difficult season for Los Angeles.