Kobe Bryant sits again, but is closer to return to the lineup

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

OAKLAND — Kobe Bryant shot baskets Wednesday, running and jumping without pain about three hours before the Lakers played the Golden State Warriors. Then he sat out for the seventh consecutive game because of an injured left shin.

It might be the last game he misses.

Or it might not be the last time he sits out.

The Lakers will wait to see how he responds to his toughest workout since he was sidelined by tenosynovitis April 7. They couldn’t say with any degree of certainty whether he would be ready to play Friday against the San Antonio Spurs.

It does seem possible he could go against the Spurs, although Sunday’s regular-season home finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder would appear as likely. The Lakers conclude the lockout-shortened season April 26 at Sacramento.

The playoffs begin April 28 or 29.

“He’s making progress,” coach Mike Brown said of Bryant, who was injured when he was kicked in the shin during the Lakers’ victory March 31 over the New Orleans Hornets. “We like where he is right now. He’s just not completely right.

“Just because a guy can run and jump and shoot, that doesn’t mean there’s a comfort level from everybody to put him back out there. We’re going to hold him out (Wednesday). There’s a chance (Friday), but we’ll re-evaluate him (Thursday).”

The Lakers are scheduled to practice Thursday in San Francisco before they fly to San Antonio for their third game in 10 days against the Spurs. Given the grind of the season plus a 3 1/2-hour flight, it’s likely they’ll take the day off, however.

The Lakers were 4-2 without Bryant, including a victory and a defeat against the Spurs, going into Wednesday’s game against the Warriors. The Lakers won the first three games against the Warriors, including the one immediately after Bryant was hurt.

Bryant played four games after he was injured before sitting out the Lakers’ loss April 7 to the Phoenix Suns, which ended his streak of 138 consecutive games played. He sat out more than seven games only three times in his 16-season career.

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