Kobe Bryant Shooting, Running on the Court Before Lakers Game in China

Kobe Bryant's path back to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup continues.

Prior to the team's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors in China, Kobe was was spotted running up and down the sidelines, much to the crowd's delight. Listen closely and you'll hear chants of "Kobe" as he runs end to end.

He's sure moving well for a guy Mike D'Antoni said wouldn't be ready for opening night against the Los Angeles Clippers, isn't he?

Actually, he did more than just sprint. Before tip, he also worked on his mid-range jumper.

Notice that his feet are barely coming off the ground, an atypical occurrence for the Black Mamba. Any work he's able to put in, however, is a good sign.

On this day, Kobe wasn't all jump shots, either. He took some reps at the free-throw line as well. Such humdrum attempts don't normally elicit deafening reactions from the crowd, but Kobe's overseas supporters loved it and were once again screaming as he was shooting.

When Kobe left the court amid a sea of outstretched hands, he was sweating, and we were reminded that the Mamba never takes a day off. 

The work he's currently putting in is expected, of course. Before the Lakers left for China, ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin wrote that Kobe was given the go-ahead to ramp up his exercises. 

Once in China, Kobe, according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, said that "if today was a playoff or NBA Finals [game], could I play? Probably."

No definitive timetable has been given for his return. He'll be back when he's ready. But every shot he takes and sweat he breaks is a step in the right direction.

As Kobe told Lakers.com's Mike Trudell, he's not quite ready yet:

If his pregame drills are any indication, it's coming along quite nicely.


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