Mamba set for return to action after nine month absence.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has revealed that he is likely to give Kobe Bryant limited minutes as he prepares to make his comeback on Sunday.
The 35-year-old has been in rehabilitation since April after suffering an Achilles injury at the end of last season, and has confirmed that he will face the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center this weekend.
However, D’Antoni was keen to stress that Bryant will require time to find his rhythm and get his conditioning right after such a lengthy lay-off, and will restrict his minutes to begin with.
“He’s totally well and ready to go. I think he’ll be limited by his wind and ability to be able to take the pounding. So, I would be surprised if more than in the twenties. It shouldn’t be any more than that,” he told reporters after practice on Saturday.
D’Antoni went on to describe Bryant as a “big piece” in his roster, and the Lakers will now look to push on following their inconsistent start to the season in order to secure a play-off spot.
The Lakers star averaged 27.3 points and 6.0 assists last season prior to sustaining the injury, and it is clear that the coaching staff and entire franchise are confident he can return to that sort of form in the coming months.
However, his initial approach will be to facilitate and help his team-mates with his presence on the court, but the initial signs in practice have been good and the wait for Laker Nation is almost over as the Mamba looks set to return to action.