Kobe Bryant, who went through on-court activities at Tuesday morning’s shootaround for the first time since injuring his right foot on Oct. 21, said he has an 85 percent chance of playing in Tuesday evening’s season opener.
This appears to be good news for the Lakers, but they won’t know No. 24′s status until seeing how Bryant’s foot reacts to a good deal of running and pressure at shootaround. We’ll likely get confirmation during coach Mike Brown’s pregame session with the media at around 6 p.m.
“It’s just a matter of how sore it gets from now until I get to Staples (Center),” explained Bryant. “I’m not going to play with an injury that will get progressively worse and limp through the season. I worked too hard for that.”
In other words, if his foot doesn’t respond positively to the morning session, he’s not going to push it by playing in back-to-back games to start the season. The Lakers leave for Portland immediately following tonight’s game against Dallas.
Bryant credited head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and head physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto for working hard throughout the last eight days to get him back as soon as possible without risking further damage to what was a painful injury. He initially collided the foot and ankle at an awkward angle on a Kings player in a preseason loss to the Kings.
“(It) just bruised like crazy,” Bryant described. “All the swelling trickled down to the tendon … it was painful to walk on.”
But after staying off the foot throughout the week and getting constant treatment, Bryant turned a corner on Monday night.
“Since last night, I’ve had substanitally less pain, and the strength has gotten better,” he said. “That’s very encouraging.”
Bryant’s trying to determine if it’s an injury that can improve while playing through it, or one that gets worse the more he’s on it. Before concluding his session with the media, Bryant was asked if there’s a silver lining in the injury, which allowed him to get some rest for legs that have been working through the offseason in part due to the 2012 Olympics.
“I look at it as a blessing in disguise to give me some rest, because when I’m out there I’m going I go 110 percent, I don’t know anything else,” he replied. “(That) probably takes a little bit from my legs, so it’s probably a blessing in disguise that I got (eight) days to relax.”