After spending time in Germany undergoing a procedure on his right knee, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant plans to return to Los Angeles pretty soon.
"I think he'll be back with us tomorrow," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Monday at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo.
Bryant left late Wednesday night last week for Germany to have a form of platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee called Orthokine. That procedure involves removing blood from an affected area and spinning it into a centrifuge to isolate platelets. The serum is then injected back into the affected area. The Lakers star had a similar procedure two years ago both on his right knee and left ankle.
Bryant advanced to light jogging and shooting drills last week as he rehabs his surgically repaired left tendon. But the Lakers haven't offered any timetable on when Bryant will return to the court. It's unclear if he'll do much work Tuesday since the Lakers host the Denver Nuggets at 7 p.m. at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
D'Antoni admitted not knowing much about Bryant's progression, namely because they didn't talk during his trip.
"I don't have the international plan," D'Antoni joked.
A second chance
Lakers forward Shawne Williams owes D'Antoni everything for saving his NBA career.
A number of drug-related incidents tarnished Williams' promise as the 17th pick in 2006 NBA Draft, wearing out welcomes in Indiana (2006-08) and Dallas (2008-09). But Williams attracted D'Antoni when he coached the New York Knicks during the 2010-11 season, recording career-highs in points (7.1) and three-point shooting (40.1 percent). A year after Portland Trail Blazers cut Williams without playing a game, D'Antoni welcomed him as a training camp invite.
"I know if Shawne gets focused, he can play," D'Antoni said. "He has a huge amount of talent."
So much that D'Antoni envisions Williams possibly starting at power forward. Williams also started in the Lakers' preseason loss Sunday to Denver, posting six points on 2 of 6 shooting, five rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.
"I really don't think about starting," said Williams, whose one-year deal under $1 million has a partial guarantee worth around $100,000. "I respect the coach. I let them do their job. I try to do my job and be ready."
D'Antoni has raved about Williams' outside shooting, floor spacing and versatility. Williams has provided those qualities partly because D'Antoni believed he'd overcome his off-the-court transgressions. Williams was arrested twice in the past six years for various drug possession charges.
"He's got a good heart," D'Antoni said. "Sometimes he gets unfocused ... maybe in the wrong environment, but overall I know he's a good, good guy."
D'Antoni also appears to hold Williams accountable.
"Mike is harder on me than a lot of people," Williams said. "He expects a lot out of me. I respect that. I'd rather he says something about me on the film than not say anything at all."
Johnson received an MRI on Monday and was diagnosed with a strained tendon in his left foot, He is listed as day-to-day.
Lakers guard Jordan Farmar plans to play today after sitting out of the Lakers' preseason loss Sunday to Denver because of calf cramps. ___
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