After seven months of rehab from surgery on a ruptured Achilles, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant returned to the practice floor for the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. Not only was Bryant finally able to return, but his teammates were glad to see their leader back on the floor alongside them.
Pau Gasol talked about his longtime teammate getting back on the practice floor and how he looked while practicing on Saturday via Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:
Pau Gasol on Kobe at practice: “He looked good, & did a few moves I didn’t expect him to do right away. I’m very happy for him & for us.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 16, 2013
During Bryant’s absence, Gasol has struggled to assume the role as the leader on the floor for the Lakers. The persistent injury problems for Steve Nash haven’t helped matters with Gasol taking on an even bigger role with much more weight on his shoulders than anticipated heading into the 2013-14 NBA season.
Despite Gasol’s struggles, the two-time NBA champion will be playing alongside Bryant sooner rather than later. Bryant’s timetable still remains uncertain, but the return to practice is promising.
Jodie Meeks, the team’s current leading scorer, also chimed in on Bryant’s return via Los Angeles Lakers Twitter account:
Jodie Meeks said Bryant’s return to practice provided an immediate boost to the team’s psyche on the floor. Very positive day in El Sugundo.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 16, 2013
Meeks has played really well in the first 11 games of the season. The sharpshooting guard is averaging 13.6 points per game while having improved his all-around game.
With Bryant back on the floor, it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for the perennial All-Star to return to the starting lineup for the Lakers. It’d be safe to say at least a few more weeks of practice will be needed to get back into game shape and to test his surgically repaired Achilles tendon.
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