Kobe Bryant played in the first four Lakers preseason games and showed some strong moments and some others where he was clearly trying to shake off the rust of having missed far more games than he played the past two seasons.
Then, in game five, he suffered a bruised calf, he’ll have missed two games by the end of Monday night and that may be the end of his preseason as the Lakers take the cautious approach. But he’ll be ready to roll when the games matter. That’s what Laker coach Byron Scott said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
“To be honest with you, [Bryant] probably won’t play [Monday],” Scott said after practice Sunday. “I’d rather get him close to 100 percent as possible. These games don’t mean anything right now. It’s really giving me a chance to look at these young guys anyway.”
Scott said Bryant might not play again this preseason. The Lakers have two games left: Monday and Thursday against the Warriors. “There’s a chance,” Scott said. “I’m not going to put a percentage on it, but there’s a chance….”
But Scott said he is confident that Bryant will “absolutely” play in the Lakers’ regular-season opener Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.
Shutting him down is the smart thing to do, a lot of teams are are sitting stars for the rest of the preseason to keep them fresh for the start of the season. LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers is the best-known example.
What matters is that Kobe will be playing once the games have some meaning in 10 days. We hope. If there is one thing I want for Kobe Bryant this season it is just to stay healthy, starting with getting his calf right.