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Kobe Bryant could be an option at point guard for Lakers upon return

Professional BasketballKobe BryantLos Angeles LakersSteve NashMike D'AntoniJordan FarmarSteve Blake

With Jordan Farmar down for a month with a torn hamstring, the Lakers have just one "healthy" point guard available -- and Steve Blake is battling through a hyperextended right elbow.

Steve Nash has increased his activity with hopes of returning from nerve issues in his back, but he still may be a couple of weeks away.

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Xavier Henry will be Blake's temporary backup, but Kobe Bryant could give Mike D'Antoni another vital option at the one spot.

Bryant's status (Achilles' tendon) for Friday when the Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings is still up in the air, but his return seems imminent.

"Kobe will play some point guard because of Farmar's status and Steve Nash's status," said D'Antoni.

Toward the end of the team's scrimmage on Tuesday, Bryant played point guard in a big Lakers lineup that featured Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill.

"Obviously if he plays point, we're big," said D'Antoni of the 6-foot-6 Bryant, noting that group could see time on the floor together.

Presumably Bryant will start at shooting guard once healthy, pushing Jodie Meeks to the bench. Another option for D'Antoni could be Bryant at small forward in place of Johnson.

If the Lakers can ever get to full strength this season, they may not need Bryant to play much at the point with Nash, Blake and Farmar, but in the meantime they may be somewhat desperate.

Will Bryant, finally back from April surgery, be able to guard athletic, quick point guards around the league?

"He doesn't have to guard them," D'Antoni said. "[Henry] can guard them, Wes can guard them ... we can match up on the defensive end. [Bryant is] a point guard anyway, in the sense of he's going to have the ball in his hands -- whether you call him a point guard or not, he's doing that anyway."

If Bryant doesn't return Friday, he could make it back Sunday when the Lakers host the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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