After recovering for nearly two weeks since suffering a lower-leg contusion in a preseason game against Sacramento on Oct. 13, Kobe Bryant announced his return to practice in a loud way.
Well, actually, it was loud on the part of an unnamed player on the white team during 5-on-5 scrimmaging, who talked a bit of trash to the 17-time all-star on the purple team at Sunday’s practice.
“That was the wrong thing to do,” Metta World Peace said.
Bryant, who did not speak with the media after practice, responded with a flurry of moves, which — according to World Peace — included turnarounds over both shoulders and a four-point play.
“We, the white team, won the first game … and then somebody said something to Kobe,” Larry Nance, Jr. said. “Four 3’s later, you can see the score now — (purple) team won. … I think we’ve learned from that mistake: Don’t poke the bear.”
Whether he’s a bear, black mamba or any other deadly creature, Bryant certainly impressed head coach Byron Scott, who said his conditioning was “better than I thought it would be” after 11 days without scrimmaging.
Bryant’s participation is a positive sign pointing toward his availability for Wednesday’s season opener against Minnesota.
“I told him if he couldn’t go today or tomorrow, I’d start worrying,” Scott said. “He walked out today and said he felt good. Gave me a thumbs up, went through the scrimmage and everything. You could see a little rust, but he was moving pretty fluidly again. It was good to see.”
Meanwhile, Nance took notice not only of the way Bryant looked, but also his effect on the team as a whole.
“Any time he’s in the gym, it’s ultra competitive,” Nance said. “You could tell if you were in the gym. Anybody in the gym could feel it. It was more than just an average day. We were really competing, really getting after it. He looks great.”
Clarkson Good to Go
Bryant wasn’t the only recently injured Laker to participate fully at Sunday’s practice. Jordan Clarkson continued his recovery from a sore right shoulder and is expected to be ready for Wednesday.
World Peace to Auction Trophy
World Peace, who auctioned off his 2010 championship ring for charity back in December 2010, is donating another piece of hardware for a good cause.
The former Indiana Pacer is putting his 2004 Defensive Player of the Year trophy up for grabs in order to support family-oriented programs.
“Mainly we’re talking (helping) young boys (become) good partners and good fathers,” he said. “We’ll really work with programs who are specifically for the betterment of the family and the future family.”
Scott Offers Condolences
With news spreading of Flip Saunders’ passing at 60 due to cancer, Scott took a few moments to pay tribute to the Minnesota head coach.
“I’m obviously very saddened to hear of Flip’s passing,” Scott said. “I want to send my condolences to the family. In my dealings with Flip, he was a terrific man. We lost a real good person way too soon.”
Meanwhile, some of the players took to social media to offer their thoughts.