Mike D'Antoni hopeful Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash will return in late January

Stephen Dunn

D'Antoni is eyeing the Lakers' Jan. 28 game against the Pacers as a potential return date for the two ailing veterans.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni is hopeful the injured Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash can return Jan. 28 against the Indiana Pacersaccording to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Bryant has been out since Dec. 17 after suffering a fracture in his left knee against the Memphis Grizzlies, just six games after returning from a torn Achilles in that same leg. The star was expected to miss six weeks with the injury, and a return against the Pacers would be at the six-week mark.

Nash has also only played six games this year, and he hasn't set foot on the court since Nov. 10. Nash has been dealing with nerve issues in his back, an injury that stems from last year.

The Lakers have been decimated by injuries this year and are just 1-9 since reaching a .500 record of 13-13 on Dec. 20. The game against the Pacers would be the first after a seven-game road trip.

The return of Bryant and Nash should theoretically help the Lakers, although coming back against the Pacers has the potential to be ugly. It will take some time for those two to get a rhythm, and facing arguably the best team in the league is a tough way to do that.

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