After two strong practices this week, many anticipated that Kobe Bryant would make his first official return to the basketball court against the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 6. While NBA TV has decided to televise the game, it was revealed on Wednesday evening that Bryant will not be playing.
According to Rachel Nichols of Turner Sports, the five-time champion is getting closer to returning, but has ruled out Friday’s road game against the Kings:
“Kobe tells me he’s getting closer to returning but that he’s not planning on playing Friday (Lakers’ next game)”
While he will not play on Friday, Bryant did not rule out Sunday against the Toronto Raptors. Although the basketball world wants to see him return as soon as possible, it would be ideal if his first return came at Staples Center in front of Lakers fans.
Without Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers have played .500 basketball and are still in playoff contention. If Bryant is set to return this week, the timing couldn’t have been better with the Lakers dealing with injuries at the point guard position.
While Steve Nash has been out for nearly a month and is working his way back, Jordan Farmar is expected to miss at least four weeks with a torn hamstring. In addition, Steve Blake is dealing with a hyperextended elbow and Xavier Henry has been playing at point guard during practices recently. With the return of Bryant, the Lakers will have a true ball-handler until Nash and Farmar make their own returns.
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