Seven months after the Achilles tendon tear heard round the world – or at least Los Angeles and Laker Nation – Kobe Bryant returned to practice with the Lakers on Saturday at their El Segundo headquarters.
He didn’t really go through a full workout, just some drills and shooting and strategy stuff, but for the die-hard Laker fanatics that is exciting news.
And before everyone starts asking for tickets for his official return in a game, there is still no timetable for that return.
All the same, the fact that Kobe’s practicing has got to be very encouraging for everybody associated with the team, from team president Jim Buss to his sister Jeannie;
To general manager Mitch Kupchak,
To Kobe’s teammates,
To the Laker Girls,
To Jack Nicholson and the other celebrities sitting court side,
To the fans sitting in the nosebleed section at Staples Center.
After the Lakers’ 114-99 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, raising their record to 5-7, if they can be at .500 when Kobe does come back, they’ll have a chance to do something this year and make the playoffs as a seventh or eighth seed.
Otherwise it may well be a long season.
Here’s a report on Kobe returning to practice and the reactions from Pau Gasol and other Laker players: