The comments left on message boards and Twitter suggest otherwise. But Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni provided caution on why he considered Kobe Bryant's practice this weekend as just a "first step" in his seven-month recovery from his torn left Achilles tendon.
Bryant practiced Saturday against no defense in strategy and shooting drills, and then advanced Sunday to some light shooting drills.
Could Bryant return when the Lakers play Friday against the Golden State Warriors?
"I don't think so," D'Antoni said. "That's very premature."
The Lakers will have today off, but will Bryant return Tuesday in a full-contact practice?
"I don't know," D'Antoni said. "Those will be full-blown practices, probably certain areas of it. But it's too early to tell."
The Lakers haven't offered any timetable on Bryant's return. But D'Antoni sounded skeptical Bryant would play before Thanksgiving.
"I have no idea. You're dealing with if he's sore today or if there's a setback tomorrow," D'Antoni said. "We need to be cautious. We just better be cool and chill out a bit."
That's because D'Antoni made very little of Bryant's first practice.
"All the players went about 60 percent," D'Antoni said. "Nobody was taped. There wasn't any real contact. It wasn't a normal practice."
Did Bryant show anything?
"Nothing more than normal. It's a normal process with an injured guy coming back," D'Antoni said. "Obviously with him on the floor, there is a presence. But we just did so little, it's hard to tell so far. He went at a pretty good pace. He surprised people that the pace was really good."
"He did some drives and jumping," D'Antoni said. "But without anyone on him."
"Two 360's and he threw the ball off to the side of the wall and dunked it one time, D'Antoni joked before trailing off again.
The excitement has built surrounding Bryant's return because of what he could do for a fledgling Lakers team. But that hasn't matched what he actually has shown on the floor just yet.
"The name on the back of his jersey, that's where it starts and stops right now," D'Antoni said. "He's a presence, no doubt. We need that presence at the end of games. We got games to win and there's going to be a bunch of them before he comes back."
Bryant's done his business by exercising patience.
"Kobe's a pretty intelligent guy," D'Antoni said. "It doesn't surprise me. He's going to try to do it right. Your will can't trump what the doctor and trainer says. You do have to have patience."
Meanwhile, D'Antoni stressed the Lakers need to have that mindset both with Bryant's recovery and how the Lakers perform even when he returns.
"The focal point will change totally," D'Antoni said. "We won't search about who we're going to at the end of games. There will be some struggles early. There's no way he comes back with everything. But at the same time, his 10 percent is better than most people."
Time Warner Cable SportsNet's analyst Stu Lantz missed the Lakers' game Sunday against Detroit at Staples Center because of a head cold that has affected his voice. James Worthy joined play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald for the telecast. Lantz is expected to return Friday when the Lakers host Golden State at Staples Center
D'Antoni disclosed backup small forward Xavier Henry has nursed a foot injury. Both D'Antoni and Henry declined to say which foot has bothered him, but he played Sunday against Detroit. ___