(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Report: Kobe Bryant could play Friday for Lakers

April 12, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) guards Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the first half of the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won 118-116. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers have already ruled Kobe Bryant out for tonight’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, they have left the door open for his return in their next game — Friday vs Sacramento.

Kobe has officially been cleared for a few weeks now and a return could be closer than we actually realize, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.

Kobe Bryant has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledged he could return Friday in Sacramento if he feels ready after a week of practices. …

“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.”

I guess this is where I admit I was wrong. I’ve been saying all along that Kobe would return tonight, obviously I was wrong. I’ve also heard people talk about a Christmas Day debut, but right now it appears that he’s going to be returning a lot sooner than that. If so, good for Lakers fans.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how Kobe is integrated back into the swing of things. Does he start right away or come off the bench? I’m sure he’ll be on some sort of minutes count, so that should be interesting in itself. This is a lot different team than the one he played with last season. Should be interesting.

Tags: Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers NBA

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