Kobe rules himself out Friday against Kings
But after two consecutive days of practices, Bryant did say he is moving into game-to-game territory when considering his long-awaited comeback from Achilles surgery. That means playing in the Lakers’ home game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday is still a possibility.
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“It feels that way,” Bryant said at the launch event for his new Nike “Kobe 9” signature sneaker at the MOCA in downtown Los Angeles. “It feels pretty good. This is the second day now that I’ve been able to get out there and move around and play and play pretty well, and it felt like I could do anything that I wanted to do out there on the floor, so we progress to [Thursday]. On to tomorrow. Let’s see if I can go three days straight and then have another hard workout on Friday and kind of measure it accordingly.”
Bryant, 35, said the final hurdle he has to clear in his training is combining his conditioning with basketball-related activities.
“Just running into the shooting,” Bryant said. “Because, it’s one thing to be out on the track all day and run. It’s another thing to run, jump, change directions, now gather your legs for a shot. You still kind of feel like you get those ‘Bambi’ legs and that sort of thing. But, the Achilles feels pretty good. Other than that, you’re just dealing with the typical things that a player playing 18 years is going to deal with — just it’s sore here, sore there.”
Bryant, who converted a left-handed breakaway dunk in Tuesday’s practice while jumping off his right leg (his Achilles tear was in the left), downplayed the significance of getting back above the rim.
“A strong layup,” Bryant said with a smile. “I don’t know if I can call it a dunk. It was a really strong layup.”
Bryant said he has been able to dunk by jumping off his left leg since suffering his Achilles injury, but there’s still work to be done in that area.
“I’ve done it in practice, but to do it [in] public would just confirm [ESPN’s] 25th ranking of me, so I just refuse to jump off of my left leg in front of any media right now,” Bryant said.