Kobe practices for first time during preseason

10/13/2006 - NBA Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers + more

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant participated in his first preseason practice with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday since having right knee surgery.

Bryant joined his teammates in a controlled five-on-five scrimmage and did several drills.

"We're easing our way back," he said. "I didn't do every drill. I just did certain things. It felt pretty good."

Bryant had surgery July 15 and was projected to be out eight to 12 weeks.

Although his knee wasn't sore, Bryant said it's not as strong as it needs to be.

"But we've done all that we can do from that perspective, so it's just getting out there and getting my legs underneath me," he said. "There are just certain moves that I can't do right now."

He said it was doubtful that he would play in two exhibition games next week but hopes to play in at least one before the season begins Oct. 31.

Bryant, who has missed the team's first two exhibition games, plans to be in Las Vegas for team events Sunday, when the Lakers play Phoenix.

Assistant coach Kurt Rambis, who is running training camp while head coach Phil Jackson recovers from hip replacement surgery, was encouraged by Bryant's ability to twist and turn on his knee.

"Kobe's back and he's challenging people," Rambis said.

Kwame Brown was unable to finish practice after spraining his right shoulder. Brown, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft by Washington, was listed as day-to-day.