It was during the Colonel Kurtz-like decent into darkness that was the Lakers play around Christmas that Kobe Bryant decided to do something very Kobe — fight through his knee pain and swelling because he needed to practice with the team again. That knee had kept him from practicing all season but it was no longer going to be an issue, he decided. As if one can just decide that.
The Lakers were lacking energy and cohesion, and practice is where those things are earned, so Kobe returned to push his teammates in practice.
Well, that time is over.
Kobe went back to not practicing with the Lakers Monday, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. Kobe shot and did some work on the side but was not part of the Lakers intensive practice. Phil Jackson was good with this.
…“it’s time for him to be back” to individual strength training and avoid extra “wearing, tearing on the court.”
“It’s not an issue,” Jackson said. “He has to work with what sustains the effort he can put on the court (in games).”
The Lakers have won four in a row and six out of seven. Sure, those wins primarily have not been against the most stellar competition the league has to offer, but considering the Lakers have lost at home to the Bucks and Pacers and Grizzlies, Lakers fans should just gladly accept the wins with a smile.
The energy is up, so it seems Kobe’s practice return did the job. For now. Next week and through the end of the month Los Angeles will get tested against better teams, then in February there comes the seven game Grammy road trip, which will be the midterm for the Lakers and Kobe’s knee.