With only one day separating the Lakers from their season opener, the primary question at the team’s practice facility on Sunday was whether or not Kobe Bryant would play against the Dallas Mavericks.
L.A.’s co-captain is still recovering from a strained/bruised foot, and did not participate in practice again on Sunday, his sixth straight day of inactivity after initially hurting the foot last Sunday.
“I don’t know; I have my doubts,” said Pau Gasol, when asked if he thought Kobe would be ready on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been able to practice for six days. He’s been off that foot for six days. It’s no joke; I don’t remember the last time he took that many days off. It’s a little concerning.”
Coach Mike Brown maintained that Kobe is still “day-to-day,” but there is optimism that the 17-year veteran is recovering with the time off.
“He’s making progress,” said Brown. “He’s definitely making progress; he’s not going backwards at all.”
Despite numerous injuries — from Bryant’s foot to the backs of Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill – in the preseason, tinkering with various rotations and implementing a new offensive system, Brown believes the team is playing at a level he expected at this point in the year.
“We’re probably right where I thought we should be,” he explained. “Having said that, in the whole scheme of things, we’re a little behind from the standpoint it’s not to the point where it’s looking pretty yet. But it’s OK because I expected it; we’re throwing a lot at (the players). I like how they’ve picked up on the stuff so far. It’s been pretty good.”
Even though the team finished winless in the preseason, point guard Steve Nash believes the team has made strides.
“I think we made a lot of progress,” stated Nash. “Obviously, we didn’t produce wins in the preseason, but there was definitely progress even though it might not look like it from the outside. It’s been a challenge, but also a great learning experience.”