The Lakers will hold out Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash out of practice soon, but the reasons hardly point to any setbacks the veteran guards experienced thus far in training camp.
Bryant practiced for two hours and 15 minutes of the Lakers’ three-hour practice on Tuesday, while Nash played for about 90 minutes without any limitations or setbacks. But in the interest of maximizing the health of Bryant and Nash, Lakers coach Byron Scott will sit them out of the evening portion of the team’s scheduled two-a-day session on Wednesday. Bryant and Nash will still practice on Wednesday morning.
“I want them to get to scrimmaging,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “That’s important sine they haven’t played much basketball in over the last year. I think both of them want to get the scrimmaging in and want to play.”
Both Bryant and Nash sure sounded excited following Tuesday’s practice after playing in only a combined 21 games last season because of respective knee and back injuries. Bryant described himself as feeling “normal” on his left knee and left Achilles even if he said Tuesday’s practice consisted of the “most running I’ve ever done.” Nash described himself as “feeling great,” believing he could have practiced longer if not for his collaborative effort with Scott to minimize any risk to his back and hamstrings.
“The Achilles injury ignited a new challenge to see if I can do this,” Bryant said. “It’s a challenge that lends itself to see if I can make this a successful comeback. My concerns are no different than everybody else’s in terms of being able to come back from this. A lot of this is the same thing if I can prove to myself I can do this thing, I can prove it to everybody else as well.
Yet, it also presents a challenge for both Bryant and Nash to stay conservative with their recovery. They spent the last 45 minutes of practice sitting together while receiving treatment. Both Bryant and Nash will likely go through that ritual in the Lakers’ four scheduled two-a-day sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday before the team’s preseason opener on Monday against Denver in San Diego.
“I felt like a kid out there and didn’t feel any limitations on myself,” Nash said. “But once you start adding days and miles, there’s going to be days it’s hard. It changes my approach on those days.”