Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant has already missed two consecutive games while nursing an ankle injury, but will be needed if the team wants to insure that their playoff hopes stay alive.
Bryant has missed (basically) the last three games with a sprained ankle that he suffered in the team's loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He attempted to play last Friday against the Indiana Pacers, but only got 12 minutes of action in before being forced to sit for the final three quarters of the game. He didn't play Sunday against the Kings (W) or Monday against the Suns (L), but he could be back sooner than expected.
It was reported yesterday that Lakers' coach Mike D'Antoni didn't find it necessary to rush Bryant before he was ready, and trusted in him to make that decision on his own.
However, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, D'Antoni said he believes Bryant will be back on the Lakers floor this upcoming Friday when the team host the visiting Washington Wizards.
After last night's loss to the Suns, it has become evident that the team will need Bryant's offense back in the lineup. With the team fighting hard for playoff positioning as well, Bryant's contributions are more important than ever.
Friday will be the second and final meeting between the Lakers and Wizards. L.A. beat the Wizards in Washington back on Dec. 14th.