Kobe Bryant looks good in first Lakers scrimmage since injury

Kobe Bryant looks good in first Lakers scrimmage since injury

LOS ANGELES – After missing all but six games last season, Kobe Bryant understood why reporters asked question after question about how he felt Wednesday following his first scrimmage of training camp. But that didn't mean Bryant was too excited about answering them.

Bryant made two of four shots, all midrange jumpers, and dished two assists in one full quarter of action during the Los Angeles Lakers' scrimmage. After being peppered with many questions about how he played and felt, Bryant finished his nearly 11-minute media session by saying: "I feel fine. You guys got to work on your [expletive]. You guys are killing me."

Bryant hasn't played in an NBA game since Dec. 18 when he injured his knee playing against the Memphis Grizzlies. He has played in five-on-five scrimmages recently in the offseason, but this was the first time he played in a structured scrimmage in a Lakers practice since the injury. Bryant said he felt physically fine after his second practice and that he had some normal soreness and heavy legs.

Steve Nash was limited to 15 games last season. (AP)
Steve Nash was limited to 15 games last season. (AP)

"It feels good being out there to compete," Bryant. "It's fun. …I understand the level of curiosity. But I just do what I do."

Lakers coach Byron Scott also expressed satisfaction with Bryant's play.

"Kobe did great. He looked good in practice today," Scott said. "He looked good in the scrimmage. You can tell he is getting his legs under him. His wind is good. The rust is starting to come off."

What wasn't seen in the short scrimmage was Bryant taking the ball to the basket for a layup or dunk. He did dunk during a layup drill. Scott said it is currently hard to tell where Bryant is athleticism-wise, but otherwise he "loves" what he saw.

"He's able to get to his spots and jump over people," Scott said. "But as far as trying to get to the basket and things like that, a lot of it today [was affected] because it gets a little cluttered in there because the offensive guys still don't understand our spacing."

The Lakers' starting unit in the scrimmage included Bryant and Steve Nash at the guard spots, Wesley Johnson at small forward, Carlos Boozer at power forward and Jordan Hill at center. Like Bryant, Nash also has been hampered in recent seasons by injuries – he played in only 15 games because of a nerve root irritation in his left leg last season. Nash moved well and hit his jumper in the first scrimmage.

"Steve impressed me and Kobe impressed me," Scott said. "For both of those guys not playing basketball much last year, to play the way they did today, be able to get up and down the floor the way they did yesterday and today, I was impressed."

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