Pau Gasol impressed by Kobe Bryant’s relatively quick return

Kobe Bryant consoles Pau Gasol during a playoff loss against San Antonio last spring.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Pau Gasol is still trying to figure it out.

How did Kobe Bryant get from lying around on a training table to being a productive player at Lakers practice?


“I didn’t expect him to do this much this quick. I guess I didn’t have a chance to see what he’s been able to do on his own,” Gasol said.

Bryant practiced Wednesday for a second consecutive day, continuing his comeback from a torn Achilles’ tendon. There is still no timetable for his return but he is not expected to play Friday against Golden State.

Bryant didn’t start with one-on-one drills or two-on-twos at the Lakers’ training facility, standard fare for athletes coming back from serious injuries, Gasol said. He basically went right to five-on-five scrimmaging, bucking the usual trend.

“That’s what’s been surprising,” Gasol said. “He comes in with a lot of energy and a lot of great attitude and just hunger. He’s hungry to prove himself, to get back on the floor, to play ball and help us be a better team.”

Bryant teased his Twitter followers two weeks ago by hash-tagging the phrase “blackout,” referring to his infamous individual workouts that make him almost pass out. Gasol’s theory: Bryant was doing plenty of work on his own, away from the Lakers facility.

“Otherwise, there’s no other explanation for him to be able to go from running on a treadmill and on the floor to actually play five-on-five,” Gasol said. “There’s certain steps you can’t really skip to be able to feel comfortable and effective out there.”

Bryant was injured seven months ago and was comfortably within the parameters of a timetable that said he would return in six to nine months.

Gasol didn’t see any of his individual workouts.

“I must have missed them,” he said, smiling. “He’s a guy that’s 24-7 committed to work and always working out at crazy hours. That’s just who he is. I’m sure he’s been able to do a lot of individual work when we haven’t been around.”


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