Ahead of Thursday’s Los Angeles Lakers practice, Kobe Bryant had already eliminated some of the drama by announcing that he would not be playing on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings. Still, Bryant was able to get through Thursday’s practice and was one of the last players off the court. He had successfully completed three difficult practices.
On Thursday, Bryant played with the second unit, and Nick Young was happy to line up alongside Bryant rather than against him--even in practice.
“The intensity of practice picked up with Kobe (Bryant) out there,” Young said on Thursday. “He rolled with me today, so I must be doing something right.”
Bryant has been pass-happy in practice, and Young made mention of that.
“The way [Bryant has] been passing, I’ve never seen this side of him,” Young added.
Bryant said he planned on getting in another hard session on Thursday night. After that, he planned on working out on Friday morning and Friday night. He will not be travelling with the team to Sacramento, but he would not rule out a return on Sunday night at Staples Center.
“My range of motion is a lot better--change of gear is not where I want it to be,” Bryant said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m not jumping through the gym by any means, but I don’t need to be able to do that in order to be a great player."
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni chimed in with his own assessment, but the coach was adamant that Bryant was able to complete everything asked of him in practice.
“[Bryant] had three good days of practice, not quite ready yet, but getting there,” D’Antoni said on Thursday. “I think days.”
D’Antoni reminded everyone he was not a doctor, but based on what he was seeing on the floor, he thought Bryant would be back in days rather than weeks.