- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers will have their starting front court intact when they play the Portland Trail Blazers as Pau Gasol (sprained pinkie, left hand) and Jordan Hill (sprained left ankle) both participated in shootaround Sunday.
"Everything is normal," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.
Kobe Bryant, coming off 5-on-0 drills at Saturday's practice, underwent individual drills after shootaround ranging from one-dribble pull-up jump shots from the top of the key and either wing to cutting baseline to receive passes at the rim. Most of Bryant's workout appeared to be at half speed, however.
Whenever Bryant does return -- D'Antoni said Friday in Sacramento is possible if the shooting guard has a productive week of practice -- he will likely be on the court less than the 38.6 minutes per game he played last season prior to his Achilles tear.
"It will probably be self-inflicted, in the sense of conditioning will limit most of it," D'Antoni said of Bryant's playing time.
Bryant told reporters in Washington last week that he would be "comfortable" with a set workload, adding, "If I can come back and keep my minutes to a minimum, that would be perfect."
As for an even more dramatic playing time reduction, keeping Bryant out of the second night of back-to-backs as has been the plan for Steve Nash this season, D'Antoni said that decision would not be his choice but rather a collaboration.
"That would come from inside (the front office) and (Bryant), whatever they tell me," D'Antoni said. "If that’s the restriction, then they’ll tell me."
D'Antoni did say that L.A. will continue to try to cut down on Hill's minutes to preserve his energy for when he is on the court. One beneficiary of Hill sitting could be Shawne Williams, who had 20 points and nine rebounds against Detroit with Hill sidelined because of his ankle.
"It’s not what you do offensively," D'Antoni said of Williams. "Most people look at the box score and see 1-for-5 and they go, ‘Oh, s---.’ I think his defense, his rebounding, his effort, his shadow -- you know, when we press the whole court it gives the whole team more of an energy boost. So, some of the things you just can’t look at the stat sheet and say good or bad. He just infuses energy into the team and that’s what we need. I think he’s been doing that. Now, you add on five or six 3s that he makes? Now he’s had a great game."
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