Kobe Bryant has missed the last four games due to a sore left shin, and might possibly sit out the rest of the regular season to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs.
However, Bryant’s status might be good to go as soon as Sunday when the team takes on the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. According to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times, Bryant has been cleared to begin running and participating in other team drills.
“Bryant will now begin running again, and if that is pain-free, can begin drills that involve jumping. If there is no discomfort at that point, he will be cleared to play.”
This is obviously good news for the Lakers, who will need Bryant once the playoffs roll around. Still, this was always viewed as a bit of a precautionary benching for Bryant, who is notorious for playing through painful injuries.
Since the team has been winning despite Bryant’s absence, his benching has almost been viewed as a blessing in disguise. His increased minute total this season began to take its toll, and Bryant admitted fatigue during several losses this season.
Even if Bryant is cleared to play this season, the team may be wise to reduce his workload as the team prepares for the post-season.