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Bryant participates in Lakers' shootaround

The SportsXchange

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant went through shooting drills Sunday, a day after returning to practice for the first time since tearing an Achilles tendon in April.

However, coach Mike D'Antoni said that does not mean he is returning to game action anytime soon.

"You're dealing with, 'Is he sore today? Is there a setback tomorrow? How (hard) can he go?' " D'Antoni said after the team's shootaround. "That's the first step and there's a lot of steps to be taken. So, I just think we need to be cautious. We best just be cool and chill out a little bit."

The Lakers host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

After that, the Lakers do not play again until Friday against the Golden State Warriors. D'Antoni said it is "premature" to assume Bryant could return by then.

"We know that he's capable," D'Antoni said. "It's just going to be a process to get him back. He's a presence, no doubt, and we need that presence, especially at the end of games. But again, we got games to win and there's going to be a bunch of them before he comes back, so we're going to have to do our business."

D'Antoni said the team does not know how much practice time Bryant needs before he is ready for game action.

He did say that Bryant moved at a "pretty good pace" and was able to drive to the basket, though no one was guarding him in the non-contact session Saturday.

Just that Bryant is practicing is a positive for the 4-7 Lakers.

"It's going to help," D'Antoni said. "His presence, obviously it changes things up. Again, I think we're a little premature. I know we're all excited, everybody is excited and I'm sure he's excited, but it's a little bit premature right now."
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