Kobe Bryant Injury: Lakers Star Slated To Return Friday

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches the game against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lakers star Kobe Bryant has missed seven straight games with a shin injury, but is expected to be back in the lineup before the end of the 2012 regular season.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been without star guard Kobe Bryant for the last seven games, as Bryant is dealing with a shin injury. Bryant is expected to be ready for the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but with just three games left in the regular season, the plan is for Bryant to play in at least two of the last three games.

"It will kind of establish my rhythm more," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports after the Lakers' victory over the Golden State Warriors. "It finishes the season up the right way and generates the momentum we need toward the postseason."

Kobe hasn't played since April 6, but is not concerned that his shin injury is a serious one. Instead, Bryant has opted to rest up and let it heal as the Lakers have already secured their spot in the NBA Playoffs. The Lakers were admittedly a bit overcautious with Bryant's injury as well, knowing full well they would need him in the Playoffs.

"If you sit him for five days, and it looks like it's feeling good," Lakers head coach Mike Brown told Yahoo!. "Then you put him out there and then he re-aggravates it, those five days that you sat him were wasted and you got to start him all over again."

The Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs on Friday evening on the road and them come back home to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, finishing up the regular season on the road against the Sacramento Kings. Bryant is expected to play in at least two of those three games.

For more on Kobe Bryant's injury and the Los Angeles Lakers, visit SB Nation's Lakers blog Silver Screen And Roll and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on the NBA in general, check out SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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