Kobe Bryant to return to Lakers lineup Sunday

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm •  Published: December 6, 2013
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kobe Bryant will make his long-awaited return from a torn left Achilles tendon when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

In a dramatic video posted on his Facebook page before the Lakers played at Sacramento on Friday night, Bryant set his much-anticipated comeback date. The video, which was also uploaded to the team's Facebook page, was titled: "Seasons of Legend. Lakers announce Kobe's return."

The video shows Bryant's No. 24 jersey flapping in the wind. There is rain, sleet, snow and lightning for nearly 2 minutes. At one point, his jersey tears.

Sunshine breaks through the clouds, and the video fades to black. Finally, words flash across the screen that read, "The Legend Continues...December 8."

"That's something special right there," Lakers teammate Nick Young quipped when a reporter showed him the video on his smartphone in the locker room.

How effective Bryant will be against top-tier competition is the last lingering question in his return.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Bryant will likely be eased back into the lineup, though he declined to discuss how many minutes he will play in his first game. Asked what his expectations are for Bryant this season, D'Antoni said, "That he'll be a dominant player."

"He can play any way," D'Antoni said. "He can play below the rim, above the rim, the side of the rim. The guy can play any way. He'll figure out how he'll be effective and he'll come at you with everything he's got."

Bryant did not travel with the team to Sacramento.

The 15-time All-Star hasn't played since he was injured April 12 in a home win over the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery the following morning and was projected to take six to nine months to recover.

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