Kobe Bryant participates in pre-game drills in China

Never has a pre-game warmup provided more fanfare and big picture implications than the actual game.

But with Kobe Bryant participating in shooting and running drills before the Lakers’ preseason game Friday against the Golden State Warriors, the fans in Shanghai had reason to cheer for the Lakers’ star for reasons beyond his overwhelming popularity here.

As the videos on the Lakers’ Vine account indicated, Bryant’s shot and running both looked sharp, an impressive development for a player who has rehabbed his torn left Achilles tendon for the past six months. Bryant performed some light shooting drills two weeks ago before flying to Germany to have a procedure on his right knee. Bryant also told reporters he started ramping up his running this week during the team’s time in China.

It remains to be seen how much time Bryant will need before returning to the court, though it seems unlikely he will play in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers at Staples Center. He said last week he’d need at least three weeks of conditioning so he could iron out his explosiveness, his rhythm and comfort level surrounding his Achilles. Yet, with each of his swishes and sprints, it appears Bryant’s on the right track.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com