Steve Blake returns to practice, Kobe Bryant sits out
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sat out of his third consecutive practice as part of the rehabilitation following the off-season surgery on his right knee, while Steve Blake returned to the court after mildly spraining his left ankle Sunday because of a collision involving Sasha Vujacic.
"I'm not talking about my knee anymore," Bryant said.
Meanwhile, Blake didn't confirm Phil Jackson's account on Sunday that Vujacic gave Blake a "little extra push" in a "highly competitive drill."
Jackson expects Bryant to appear in Monday night's practice, which marks the team's only two-a-day sessions during training camp. There are a few reasons why Jackson doesn't want such long practices. The team travels Thursday to Europe for pair of exhibition games Oct. 4 against Minnesota in London and Oct. 7 against FC Barcelona in Spain. Jackson also said "we found with veteran players, it's a negative return."
But Monday night's practice perhaps proves more valuable for Bryant and Blake. Jackson said Bryant wants to play, and he plans to give him minutes during the European exhibition games. As for Blake, the practice will give him a chance to see how his ankle fares in contact drills, considering the Lakers' morning session entailed what Jackson called a "non-contact practice." The team hasn't considered Blake's injury to be serious, and he said the morning session confirmed that thinking.
"I tried to see how it felt and make cuts and everything," Blake said. "It felt fine. I'm ready to go. It feels good. I have to continue icing it to make it 100%. But for the most part, I'm OK to play."
-- Mark Medina
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