We may be just days away from the return of the Black Mamba to the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to a report by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, there is a distinct possibility that Kobe Bryant could be ready to play as soon as December 6 when the Lakers travel to Sleep Train Arena to play the Sacramento Kings:
Bryant has already been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The team won't play again until Friday against Sacramento, so that will give the 15-time NBA All-Star plenty of time to re-evaluate his health before he can determine whether he's ready to compete.
Head coach Mike D'Antoni isn't ready to count his chickens before they hatch on Bryant's potential return, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:
I don't want to anticipate anything. Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward.
That doesn't mean he will play Friday, doesn't mean he won't. But that's the time you just evaluate, and I can't tell you what type of evaluation that will be.
As of this writing, the Lakers own a record of 9-8, which has them ranked tied for second in the Pacific Division and tied for eighth overall in the Western Conference.
A triumphant return from one of the greatest players in NBA history could be the boost this team needs to catapult it up the standings.
There is no way of knowing for sure if Bryant will suit up against the Kings, but we should get a better understanding early next week after he's had a couple more practices under his belt.
Follow Christopher Walder on Twitter @WalderSports.