Kobe talks about his injury and suggests he could play Tuesday.
O.C. Register: Kobe Bryant said he was able to “pretty much do everything” in Lakers practice Saturday and expects to play Tuesday night in Memphis.
Bryant has missed the past five games with a strained peroneal tendon in his lower left leg, but he said he “should be” back in Memphis.
Bryant kidded in reference to all the medical treatment he has done to recover that if he isn’t playing Tuesday, “I’m firing everybody.”
Bryant is set to practice shooting on his own Sunday, even though it is a day off for the team. The Lakers will reconvene Monday for another practice and further re-integration of Bryant before flying to Memphis later that day. The Lakers lost with Bryant on the floor — and breaking Jerry West’s all-time Lakers scoring record — on Feb. 1.
The Lakers went 4-1 without Bryant but have some challenging games coming up. The Lakers have Dallas, reinforced with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, the day after playing in Memphis. They have a home showdown against Denver on Feb. 28; the Nuggets are 2-0 this season against the Lakers, who beat Denver in the West finals last season.
Bryant said teammate Luke Walton jokingly told him that Bryant should at least suit up and sit on the end of the bench for any future games he misses to be ready for situations such as the one at the end of the Lakers’ loss to Boston on Thursday: The Lakers were down by one point with 2.2 seconds left … an obvious opportunity for the game’s renowned closer.
Phil Jackson said Bryant’s health is now about “how he recovers strength-wise” from testing it Saturday, but Bryant had little concern. He said he could “drive, push off, get to the basket.”
Dismissing any threat he’d be out of shape upon his return, Bryant said: “I’m fortunate to have these really huge lungs. Seriously.”