Kobe, Bynum return to practice

Updated: February 16, 2010, 2:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Kobe Bryant will rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers when they face the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Bryant
Bryant

Bryant has missed three straight games, all of which the Western Conference-leading Lakers have won, since spraining his left ankle against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 5.

Bryant, along with banged-up center Andrew Bynum, returned to practice on Monday, according to the Times.

"He said he didn't have the normal strength he'd like to have, but it'll come back," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told the newspaper, referring to Bryant. "That's just getting back in the flow and getting some strength there again, reconditioning it. He hasn't played in two weeks, so there's a lot of things that he was trying out and trying to figure out -- passes that went awry and shots he was reluctant to shoot -- but he'll come [around]."

While Bryant is set to return Tuesday, the Lakers could have Bynum back as well, according to the Times.

Bynum has missed the past two games with a bruised right hip.

"I'm definitely limited, but I'm going to try to give it a go," Bynum told the newspaper. "I just want to see if it'll get worse. Every step you take, the muscle rubs over the top of it and it's real painful."

With or without Bynum, the Lakers (41-13) seem to have a good chance to begin the second half of the season on a positive note as they host the Warriors. Los Angeles has won 28 of 31 at home against Golden State since 1993-94.

Meanwhile, persistent back pain caused by a pinched nerve will force Luke Walton to take another indefinite leave, according to the newspaper.

"Right now it's kind of experimental with Luke," Jackson told the Times. "We're trying to see where he can get to in this season and can continue on, hopefully, without having to do anything that would eliminate his year."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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