After Sunday’s game the Lakers don’t play again until Friday and according Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni via ESPN LA:
“I don’t want to anticipate anything. Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward. That doesn’t mean he will play Friday, doesn’t mean he won’t. But that’s the time you just evaluate, and I can’t tell you what type of evaluation that will be.”
This is the most concrete and positive news so far in what has been a murky timetable for Bryant’s return. The Lakers also just finished giving Bryant a $48.5 million contract extension for the next two years silencing any questions that Bryant may be on his way out this coming offseason.
The Lakers are over .500 heading into Sunday night’s game with the Portland Trail Blazers, and any talk of tanking this season has quickly been silenced. It has yet to be seen if Bryant will immediately return to his ‘Black Mamba’ self after rupturing his Achilles, but he will clearly take his team back over and relieve pressure off of Pau Gasol and this surging Lakers bench unit. Bryant’s return will also allow players like Jodie Meeks and Nick Young to focus on their scoring with the bench unit and relieve the pressure of the spotlight.
It’s time to begin the countdown. Black Mamba, we’ve missed you.
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