Derek Fisher expresses optimism about Kobe Bryant’s return

Derek Fisher hardly sounded in the mood to reflect on his Lakers career.

The Thunder just lost 114-110 Sunday to the Lakers at Staples Center. Fisher is perhaps still upset that the Lakers traded him to Houston in 2012 for Jordan Hill, a move that amounted to a salary dump and clear up space in a loaded backcourt. After all, the Lakers had then suggested they made the trade in part because Fisher would stew privately about coming off the bench.

But Fisher still has a soft spot for Kobe Bryant, who team together with him to win five NBA championships.

“Obviously for Kobe, we played together it seems like a lifetime,” Fisher said. “It’s very personal to me, especially with how I know how hard he works to be at his best and he’s not there right now. I have no doubt he’ll back there very soon.”

Fisher holds that optimism after seeing Bryant seemingly play through every injury, including ones to his ankles, knees, elbows, fingers and even a concussion. But the Lakers won’t evaluate Bryant until Friday, which could give him clearance to advance his rehab beyond stationary bike exercises. The Lakers anticipate Bryant’s progress that would eventually extend toward full-court scrimmaging would take a couple of weeks. That’s why Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni recently expressed skepticism Bryant would play this season.

Still, that didn’t stop Fisher from expressing optimism about Bryant. He somewhat shared the same sentiments that Bryant expressed this year that he ranks Fisher as his favorite teammate.

“Kobe, by far, is my favorite teammate from a basketball perspective in terms of what we were able to accomplish,” Fisher said. “But it would be a disservice to guys like Devean George, Luke Walton, Horace Grant and guys I got close to over the years in terms of being friends to automatically put Kobe at the top of that list. But we definitely shared some special years and I miss him everyday. I want him to get healthy and get back on the court as soon as possible.”


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at

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