Kobe Bryant is apparently well enough to interrupt business classes at Boston College, and the superstar could make his return to the court by the end of the month.
The 35-year-old shooting guard made headlines for interrupting a few marketing classes on Thursday, one day before the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Boston Celtics. Last month, Bryant suffered a fracture in his left knee, just six games into his return from a torn Achilles tendon.
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said last week that he hopes Bryant and point guard Steve Nash will return on Jan. 28 against the Indiana Pacers after the team’s seven game road trip ends, according to the Los Angeles Times. Working back slowly, Bryant averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor in his six appearances this season.
When Bryant originally went down with the Achilles tear with 19 games left in last year’s regular season, he quickly dispelled any chance of retirement. The Lakers placed even more confidence in the future Hall of Famer by agreeing to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension back in November.
Before this year, Bryant had never missed more than 17 games in a single season over the course of his 17-year career. Back in the 2003-04 season Bryant played in 65 out of a possible 82 games, but the Lakers didn’t suffer too much with center Shaquille O’Neal able to pick up the slack.
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Losing 12 of their last 13 games, the 14-25 Lakers have been decimated by injuries this season, most notably at guard. Kendall Marshall is L.A.’s sixth starting floor general this season, with Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake joining Bryant and Nash on the injured list.
L.A. will also miss shooting guard Nick Young for Friday’s matchup with Boston while he serves a one-game suspension without pay for throwing a punch during Wednesday’s 121-114 loss to Phoenix.
All the injuries have the Lakers in line for a top lottery selection this summer. Should they wind up in the top five, L.A. won’t have to ship the pick to the Suns as stipulated in the Nash trade.