The Los Angeles Lakers have already played 10 games, and Kobe Bryant still hasn’t stepped onto the court in the 2013-2014 season. There has been hope, though, that the veteran could make his return any day now.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Bryant has been doing intense conditioning for two weeks, which is just one week short of what he would need in order to be ready to play in an NBA game. That could put him on schedule to come back some time during the Lakers upcoming four-game home stand. It begins on Friday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies and ends on Sunday, Nov. 24, when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Staples Center.
Despite the suggested timetable, it might not be likely for Bryant to come back in the immediate future. General manager Mitch Kupchak doesn’t expect to see the team’s best player suit up very soon.
"I don't see that in the next week or two because you've got to be on the court. You've got to practice. You've got to play," Kupchak said at an event for season-ticket holders.
Last week, rumors began to circulate that Bryant was preparing to return against Memphis. He tweeted “#blackout #bearhunt,” which led some to believe that the 35-year-old was aiming to return against the Grizzlies when the Lakers wear their alternate black uniforms.
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As expected, the Lakers have struggled in Bryant’s absence. At 4-6, they are currently the 11th seed in the Western Conference and sit 2.5 games behind the first-place Clippers in the Pacific Division. There have been rumors that the Lakers could look to trade some of their assets, including Steve Nash, if they fall out of playoff contention. However, L.A. will likely wait until Bryant returns before making any major moves
"Clearly we don't know what this team is all about until Kobe gets back, and when he gets back, how is he going to play?" Kupchak said.
Before he tore his Achilles last April, Bryant was having one of his best offensive seasons in years. He averaged 27.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting, as well as 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game.