Kobe is Back Tonight

It was April 12, less than eight months ago but an eternity for so many, when I and the basketball world saw Kobe Bryant injured during a Lakers’ game with Golden State. When the diagnosis of a ruptured Achilles tendon was made, it seemed unlikely that he would touch a basketball court in less than a year. While there was speculation of a much quicker return, some experts saying even as soon as the start of the new season, others soon thereafter, others by Christmas, I had said early January. But, folks, today is the day!



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Coach Mike D’Antoni has said Kobe will likely be playing around 20 minutes per game for awhile, but that he expects his playing time and stats to eventually return to where they were pre-Achilles. How soon that can happen is total speculation, but his presence on the court will be an overpowering emotional lift to the re-built Lakers’ team, which has distinguished itself in the early going this season, without Kobe.

His rejoining the team that is currently beset with several other injuries, primarily those keeping Jordan

Farmar, Steve Nash, and Chris Kaman out and hobbling Pau Gasol, could not have come at a more opportune time. The Lakers are on the cusp of playoff eligibility in the super-tough NBA West, sitting in the 10th spot for an eight-team field. His spot has been well-cared for


by Jamie Meeks and Xavier Henry, and they will now lose playing time, but there is an overpowering feeling that Kobe’s return will eventually mean at least a two-spot pickup, if not more.

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The big worry here is that Kobe may be far less than 100% but want to play so badly that he stays on the court when he should not, risking aggravation of the injury and a possible setback. The medical and training staff needs to keep a close eye on him, and irregardless of any game situation, put his health and long-term play ahead of a Lakers’ victory in a single game.

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