Phil Jackson limits Kobe Bryant's time
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been limited in preseason activity as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, and Monday was no exception as the 12-time All-Star did not participate in practice. Still, despite having to closely monitor Bryant's progress, Lakers coach Phil Jackson expressed confidence about Bryant's availability once the season begins.
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"I think the regular season is gonna be fine," Jackson said. "Right now, there's obviously a conditioning and strength factor that are both there. He's working real hard. He's feeling OK about it. But game shape, not ready quite yet.
"But we'll go some minutes and see how he goes in those minutes, and determine how many minutes [Bryant will play]," Jackson said.
During the Lakers' European trip, Bryant played six minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves in London, then 25 minutes against FC Barcelona in Barcelona. The latter total was, in Jackson's estimation, "a little bit too long," but the game's competitive nature prompted Jackson to throw a bit of caution to the wind.
For Wednesday's game against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, however, Jackson anticipated scaling back Bryant's run to around 16 minutes. Jackson also recently reminded the guard to take his time and resist the urge to play beyond his capabilities.
"Just don't push it too fast," Jackson said, recounting their conversation. "That's all. We're doing it just the way we want to do it. A couple appearances on the floor, maybe 16 to 18 minutes are fine. Any more than that right now, I think, is expending a little bit too much."Andy Kamenetzky is co-author of the Land O'Lakers blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.