The Lakers appear more and more destined for the NBA lottery. Their injury-list remains a revolving door. Yet, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reiterated his intent still to play at some point this season after nursing a fractured left knee for the past seven weeks.
“My plan hasn’t changed,” Bryant said Sunday at an event to promote his new sneaker, the Nike Kobe 9 Elite Masterpiece. “I’ve been going about it every single day and trying to be better. That’s my job. My job is to get my butt out there on the court to play.”
When that happens remains to be seen.
Bryant hasn’t progressed his rehab beyond stationary bike work. The Lakers also don’t plan to reevaluate him until after All-Star weekend. But considering he still needs to advance his workout and practice regimen, Bryant sounded unsure when he’ll step on the court.
“That I don’t know,” Bryant said. “It’s completely out of my control. I really got to sit here and just wait until this thing heals up and then go out there and do what I do
Bryant missed the first 19 games this season while rehabbing his left Achilles tendon. He only played for six games, averaging 13.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting and 6.3 assists, before his latest knee injury kept him out for the past 26 contests. But when asked what the best-case scenario will entail upon his pending return, Bryant still sounded confident.
“Play like me,” Bryant said. “That’s it.”
Bryant sounded in high spirits talking about his latest Nike product, but that hardly matched his internal frustrations staying on the sideline. He didn’t travel with the Lakers on their three-game trip last week, which included a stop in his hometown (Philadelphia). He described that stretch as “horrible.”
“That Cleveland game, it was crazy,” Bryant said, referring to the Lakers’ win against the Cavaliers that entailed only a five-man rotation. “Then [Chris] Kaman goes to sleep on the bench. It’s like when big brother is not around, he starts doing crazy [stuff]. It’s been rough.”
So how does Bryant stay in high spirits?
“I’ve been riding the bike and trying to stay active and stay in shape,” Bryant said. “I spent a lot of time with my family, which really helps kind of balance it out. But I hate not being there with the guys and watching them go through that period that they’re going through. It’s very very tough. I try to be patient.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org