Updated from earlier tonight …
OAKLAND — Kobe Bryant shot baskets Wednesday afternoon, running and jumping without pain about three hours before the Lakers faced the Golden State Warriors. Then he sat out for the seventh and final game because of an injured left shin.
The Lakers will wait to see how he responds from his toughest workout since he was sidelined by tenosynovitis April 7. However, Bryant said with a degree of certainty that he would be ready to play Friday against the San Antonio Spurs.
“Why not?” he said after the Lakers’ victory over the Warriors. “I’m good.”
Bryant said sitting out wasn’t fun.
“It’s been good to see how much guys have progressed, doing things they would ordinarily not try to do,” he said. “When I’m not out there, you have to do other things. You have to experiment with your game. They had a great deal of success with it.”
The Lakers were 5-2 without Bryant, including a victory and a defeat against the Spurs. They hardly missed him during their 99-87 victory over the Warriors, when they led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
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’s sat out more than seven games only three times in his 16-season career.
“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 (today).”
The Lakers called off their scheduled practice Thursday in San Francisco, so the first chance they’ll have to get Bryant on the court will be at Friday’s morning shootaround in San Antonio. Bryant said he expected no setbacks.