Kobe Bryant will not play on Friday against the Sacramento Kings. The 35-year-old revealed his latest plans to sit out the Los Angeles Lakers' next game to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin at the launch of his new shoes, “Kobe 9.”
The guessing game on Bryant’s return date has now updated to Sunday’s homes game against the Toronto Raptors or Tuesday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns. After that, the Lakers hit a four-game road trip, so Bryant's return at home is more likley if he comes back before Tuesday.
"It feels pretty good,” Bryant said about his Achilles on Wednesday evening. “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].”
Thursday will be the seventh practice Bryant has taken part in since rupturing his Achilles on Apr. 12. Nearly eight months later, Bryant appears to be nearing a comeback. Bryant is expected to address the media following Thursday’s practice. Practicing three successive days with the Lakers should be a good barometer of where he stands with regards to conditioning, recovery, and sharpness.
Decisions regarding minutes have yet to be determined, so Bryant’s return is still shrouded in mystery. Coach Mike D’Antoni has maintained that he remains in the dark about Bryant’s final return date, and he will yield all thoughts on conserving minutes and scheduling rests to athletic trainer Garry Vitti and Bryant’s medical staff. For now, he is waiting like everyone else.
After nearly eight months on the sidelines, Bryant appears to truly be day-to-day and could return as early as Sunday at Staples Center.