The 35-year-old posted a two-minute video link that showed his
"No. 24" jersey fluttering through sunshine, clouds, wind, rain,
snow and lightning, then being torn down the middle before being
repaired by a beam of light.
Preceded by the inscription: "Seasons of Legend. Lakers announce
Kobe's return", the video segment ended by flashing the words: "The
Legend Continues…. December 8."
Bryant has been sidelined since mid-April with a torn left Achilles'
tendon but was given full medical clearance to resume all basketball
activities midway through last month.
The return of the 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion will
be a significant boost for the Lakers who are 9-9 this season and
sit 12th in the 15-team Western Conference.
Bryant practiced with the team for a third straight day on Thursday
without suffering any setbacks, and said afterward that his range
of motion was a lot better.
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"The last time I practiced (for two days in a row), my range
of motion became restricted," Bryant, known throughout his
career for his determination to play through pain and various
other setbacks, told reporters.
"It became kind of locked up and I wasn't able to run, change
directions or sprint like I wanted to.
"Now I don't feel like I have any limitations, really. The
change of gear is not where I want it to be, but it's easy to
compensate and go out there and be effective."
Bryant ruled out the possibility of making his return on Friday
against the Kings in Sacramento.
"My sea legs aren't there yet," he said. "The pull-up jump shots
and the fadeaways, my sea legs aren't quite there yet to be able
to do that."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Thousand Oaks, California;
editing by Gene Cherry)
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