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Mike D'Antoni: Kobe Bryant could return soon

The Kobe Bryant return time is still up in the air, but could be as early as Friday. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Kobe Bryant's return time is still up in the air, but could be as early as Friday. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he might be back on the court Friday against the Sacramento Kings.

Bryant has been rehabbing a torn Achilles that ended his season in April. The Lakers have no games between Sunday and Friday, giving Bryant a full week to test his strength.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Bryant will use the three practice days leading up to Friday's game to evaluate whether he will be ready to play. From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:

"I don't want to anticipate anything," D'Antoni said after practice Saturday. "Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward.

"That doesn't mean he will play Friday, doesn't mean he won't. But that's the time you just evaluate, and I can't tell you what type of evaluation that will be."

There's still no exact timetable for Bryant's return, but D'Antoni acknowledged he is getting closer. From ESPN:

"He'll be listed pretty soon as 'day to day,'" D'Antoni said. "And everybody knows that's the way it is. When he's ready to roll, he'll go."
Bryant just signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension with the Lakers last week, then said he was still "probably weeks" away from a return.
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