Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant plans to play in all eight preseason games as he returns from a fractured knee. Bryant, 36, was limited to six games last season. He returned from a torn Achilles in December, but suffered a lateral tibia plateau fracture less than two weeks after making his debut.
Head coach Byron Scott said Bryant wants to use the preseason to get his legs ready for the regular season.
Bryant, 36, was limited to six games last season. He returned from a torn Achilles in December, but suffered a lateral tibia plateau fracture less than two weeks after making his debut. Before last season, he had never missed more than 16 games in a single season. General manager Mitch Kupchak said last month Bryant's minutes will be managed this season.
The 16-time All-Star enters his 19th season 592 points behind Michael Jordan for third place on the league's all-time scoring list. Bryant was ranked the 24th best player in the NBA on SI.com's Top 100 players list. He was the only Laker to make the Top 100 list.
The Lakers finished last season 27-55, the franchise's worst record since it moved to Los Angeles. Head coach Mike D'Antoni resigned when the team did not extend his contract following last season. Former Lakers guard Byron Scott was hired to replace D'Antoni in July. In 13 seasons as a head coach, Scott has a 416-521 record, including two appearances in the NBA Finals with the Nets.
Los Angeles traded for point guard Jeremy Lin, claimed power forward Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers during the offseason and signed power forward Ed Davis. The Lakers also re-signed Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry.
Pau Gasol, who was a centerpiece of the team's championship runs in 2009 and 2010, left to sign with the Chicago Bulls. Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks also signed with other teams during the offseason.
- Paul Palladino