Kobe Bryant completed almost one week of in-depth conditioning but declined to provide a targeted return date.
He recently said he would need three consecutive weeks of solid conditioning before playing in a game.
“This week was a good start. I was able to run and run pretty well,” he said Friday before the Lakers faced San Antonio. “I’ve been able to push pretty hard and the next day, come back, push hard again. The recovery of it has been pretty good this week.”
Bryant resumed running on flat surfaces after acknowledging last week he had “scaled back” his conditioning.
When pressed for a timetable Friday, Bryant cursed mildly and changed the subject.
“This is turning into a press conference. I just wanted to get my weekly thing out of the way,” he said, adding a smile.
Because he is injured, Bryant talks to reporters only once a week, as per NBA rules.
He said his Achilles’ tendon felt fine. It was more about getting his left ankle up to speed.
“It’s really lack of flexibility and range of motion in the [ankle] joint. It’s not anything to do with the tendon necessarily,” he said. “Having the ankle locked up so long, it won’t move.”
“The Achilles is what it is. We’ve gotten through the hard part as far as preserving its tightness. Now you’ve got to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in jeopardy for other parts of the body. You don’t want to create a string of injuries.”
Bryant hasn’t been active on the bench during Lakers games, usually sitting quietly behind his teammates, but he has talked individually to them off the court.
“It’s tough when you’re sidelined for so long to not feel part of the process,” he said. ‘You’re not out there every day on the practice court with them or even watching them practice for that matter because you’re doing treatment, you’re working out, things like that. It’s very easy to lose that connectivity.”
Bryant later added a Halloween joke, saying he didn’t eat many sweets, cognizant of the healthy diet promoted by Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco.
“If it was candy, it was grass-fed,” he said.
It’s D’Antoni’s idea
The “DNP-CD” designation that followed Steve Nash in the box score Wednesday needed one more “D.”
Then it could have meant “Did Not Play-Coach D’Antoni’s Decision.”
Nash is on a program to sit at least one game of back-to-back situations for the Lakers, who have 19 such sets this season. He wasn’t angry about skipping Wednesday’s game against Golden State after playing Tuesday against the Clippers.
The NBA’s oldest point guard was more matter-of-fact about it.
“It wasn’t my decision,” he said Friday. “I was ready to play but Coach [Mike D’Antoni] wants to be conservative for the long haul and he kind of convinced me to stick with his plan. So I’m happy to work through this early in the season.”
Nash, 39, played Friday against San Antonio, a team that sometimes has rested veterans Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
“Those guys always seem to take two weeks off during the season somehow, which is great,” Nash said. “They have the luxury to do it because 1) they usually are in a really nice position in the standings and 2) in their system, guys come in, they actually speed up the game sometimes when those [regular] guys aren’t playing. They have a lot of success without their best players.”
Nash has been bothered by a sore ankle, back and neck at various times this season.