While everyone is focusing (and rightfully so) on Kobe Bryant stepping on the practice floor for some light shooting drills, there is another player coming off an injury and trying to get back on the court as soon as possible. That player would be Lakers’ second-round draft pick, Ryan Kelly.
Kelly had surgery on his right foot in April, but has yet to fully recover, missing out on playing in the Summer League and being limited so far in practice. He participated in some light shooting drills with Chris Kaman, but continues to maintain that he will not rush back since, as he told Basketblog, health is his most important concern:
(Health) is the most important thing and that’s why I’ve been following what the Lakers have asked me medically […] Certainly I want that opportunity, but health is more important than just one year (in your career), he said. I’m a competitor and I want to be on the court obviously, and show what I can do, but you have to take care of your health first.
Kelly is smart to not rush back as we have seen many players like Grant Hill and Gilbert Arenas suffer long-term for rushing back too early from injuries. However, there will be a lot of competition for the last couple of roster spots as Kelly will be competing with the likes of Elias Harris, Marcus Landry, Shawne Williams, and Xavier Henry to make the cut.
As a second-round pick, Kelly’s contract is not guaranteed, making it easier to get rid of him if he doesn’t measure up. Kelly should definitely be thinking long-term in this instance as he is young, but his short-term could be cast in serious doubt if he is unable to get on the court soon.
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