Kobe Bryant spoke to reporters for the first time in a week. The news he delivered would please any Lakers fan.
Bryant said he was "85%" sure he would play in the Lakers' season opener Tuesday against Dallas. He has not played a game or practiced since sustaining a strained right foot Oct. 21 in an exhibition game against Sacramento.
Bryant went through a full shoot-around with the team Tuesday morning and said he would re-evaluate his foot when he arrived at Staples Center later in the day.
"It's just a matter of how sore it gets from now until I get to Staples," he said after the shoot-around. "Of course I want to play. We've put together a great roster here and I worked real hard this summer to get myself in tip-top shape and be ready to go. I'm not going to play with an injury that's going to get progressively worse and just limp through the season. I worked too hard for that."
Bryant had been playing well in the exhibition season, averaging 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 26.8 minutes.
"Since [Monday] night, I'm in substantially less pain. The more I ran [Tuesday] the better it got," he said. "That's very encouraging."
Bryant chuckled when asked if he received medical clearance from Lakers trainers.
"I never get clearance," he said. "Either I'm ready to go or I'm not ready to go. They've done a great job treating me and getting me ready. We've been together for so long. They trust my judgment."