Kobe Bryant injury: Lakers star 'getting closer,' could play Friday

Rob Carr

The Lakers could have Bryant back as soon as next week.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant could complete his recovery from Achilles surgery and return to the court next Friday against the Sacramento Kings, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said Saturday that he wouldn't rule out the possibility of his star player coming back next week.

Following months of speculation on when Bryant might be ready to come back from a torn Achilles tendon, this appears to be the first reference to an actual return date. On Tuesday, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that Bryant wasn't ready to come back yet, but wouldn't rule out the following two weeks.

With D'Antoni acknowledging the possible Friday return and Bryant reportedly making steady progress in his recovery, all sides appear to be gearing up for that date. D'Antoni said Saturday that he wasn't looking past how Bryant performs in practice on Tuesday, but it's clear we're getting closer to the return.

Back in April, when Bryant first went down, the range of possibilities for his recovery was vast and complicated but he was officially given a timetable of six-to-nine months. Should he actually return against the Kings next week, Bryant will be right at the early end of that range.

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