Twelve hours following a gutting 89-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers met for practice in El Segundo. Saturday, the team was a bit more positive and spirits were high. Perhaps, it was because Kobe Bryant returned to practice.
Yes, you read that right. He’s back.
Unfortunately, Bryant was not on the court when the media entered the facility. Also, Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni did not mention Bryant during his comments, but word got out via teammates Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol that Bryant practiced and looked good.
All talk of the Lakers’ struggles and 4-7 record were immediately forgotten and overshadowed by Bryant’s return. Unfortunately, news of Bryant’s involvement did not break until practice was concluding, and not much information was immediately available.
Bryant practiced. He looked good.
By his own admission, Bryant was medically cleared weeks ago, but he was still lacking flexibility in his ankle. He had been working on conditioning, but the 35-year-old was slowly working his way back to where he could cut and perform at the levels expected with the greatest Laker of all time.
“[Bryant] looked good and did a few moves I didn’t expect him to do right away,” Gasol was quoted as saying. “I’m very happy for him & for us.”
Meeks repeated those sentiments by saying the return of the Black Mamba provided a boost to the team. The session was described as light, with five-on-zero drills.
Triple Threat waited for Bryant following practice, but he was not immediately available for comment.