Kobe Should Return Tonight

It feels like he’s been gone from the game for months, but Bryant says his ankle feels healthy enough to play again: “Kobe Bryant had that look on his face Monday after practice. Sullen. Ornery. Determined. That meant only one thing: Bryant was ready to play basketball again. His left ankle isn’t close to be 100 percent, more like 80 percent or so, Bryant speculated, but it’s good enough to play on, so he’ll be in the lineup tonight when the Lakers open a two-game road trip at Memphis. ‘I’ll be good to go.’ he said. Bryant has not played since Feb. 5 against Denver. He isn’t pain-free, but the discomfort is due mostly to putting pressure on the ankle when he’s on the floor making cuts and jumping. Until this week, it hurt just to walk. Bryant doesn’t expect to play limited minutes, and thinks he can play effectively while he continues to rehabilitate. ‘As always the ultimate test is seeing how it develops, how it holds up with the stress of playing and the travel,’ Bryant said. ‘We’re playing back-to-back games and that’s always a challenge. We’ll just have to see how it holds up.”‘