Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash to make long awaited return in preseason opener vs. Denver

first_img“He’s dealt really well with the rust and he’s moving very well,” Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said of Bryant. “But granted, he hasn’t played in a game. He’s scrimmaged, but that’s not the same. Part of the rehab process is actually playing. Your body is going to adapt to the loads that your body puts on during the game.”Both Bryant and Nash will start against Denver, but Scott declined to reveal to what degree they will play in limited minutes. Scott also added Bryant will likely play more than planned at small forward because of Young’s absence stemming from a torn ligament in his right thumb. Scott revealed Young could return in four to six weeks, though the Lakers will have a clearer answer after he has surgery today. Meanwhile, Lakers forwards Ryan Kelly (strained left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (back spasms) remain sidelined.“My concerns are no different than everybody else’s in terms of being able to come back from this,” Bryant said earlier this week. “If I can prove to myself I can do this thing, I can prove it to everybody else as well.”Yet, as much intrigue as Bryants’ comeback will become in an otherwise meaningless game, Scott said he remains more concerned about how the Lakers play on defense. Last season, the Lakers ranked 29th out of 30 NBA teams in points allowed (109.2), 24th in defensive field goal percentage (46.8) and 30th in fast-break points allowed (16.7).The general public, however, will likely narrow in on Bryant and Nash. “I’m curious to see Kobe, Steve and everybody really,” Scott said. “We’ve been going against each other for a week. So it’ll be fine to go against somebody else. I’m anxious to see how it all unfolds.” In portions of the Lakers’ practices open to the media in the last week, both Bryant and Nash appeared mobile and comfortable moving around the court. Both Bryant and Nash remained consistent with their mid-range jump shooting. Bryant also frequently challenged teammates, mostly to Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson, with trash talk. Both Bryant and Nash have sat out of the evening portion of the Lakers’ four two-a-day sessions as well as most of the tail end of running drills. What has Scott seen?“With Steve, his basketball timing. Everything seems to be there,” Scott said. “He’s shooting the ball pretty well. A lot of times when you have that much time off, that’s one of the things that takes the longest with the timing and to get that rust off. Both of the guys shot the ball better in the scrimmages than I thought they would. They moved gracefully. It didn’t look like they had any hiccups. I was extremely happy with both.”Still nothing replaces game experience. This will mark the first game Bryant has played since Dec. 17, 2013 in Memphis when he injured his left knee a mere six contests after missing the previous 19 while healing his left Achilles tendon. Nash has not played since April 8, 2014 against Houston, though he reported feeling fully health a month later. The duo last played in a game together in Sacramento on March 30, 2013. The legacy Kobe Bryant has built thus far traces back to when he won NBA championships in June. Steve Nash never collected that hardware. But his two NBA MVP awards and third-place standing on the league’s all-time assists list reflects the 40-year-old’s longevity, pinpoint passes and pick-and-roll perfection. Yet, the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets on Monday in San Diego’s Valley View Casino Arena will provide an early glimpse into how both Bryant and Nash fare through the tail end of their career. Based on how Bryant and Nash played through one week of training camp, Lakers coach Byron Scott expects something far more cheerful than the combined 21 games Bryant and Nash played last season because of respective knee and back injuries. “To be where they are today in training camp, I’m ecstatic,” Scott said following Sunday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “They exceeded my expectations in training camp and came into much better condition than I thought they would. Both guys are a ways away, obviously. But right now for them to be where they are at this time, I’m extremely happy.”Both Bryant and Nash participated in Sunday’s practice, but in somewhat limited fashion. Bryant took part in the Lakers’ preliminary drills before sitting out of the team’s five-on-five full-court scrimmage. Scott reported Nash experienced “no issues whatsoever” after missing most of Saturday’s practice because of a rolled left ankle. Nash played in parts of the Lakers’ scrimmage on Sunday, but left the court before the media watched the tail end of practice. Neither Bryant nor Nash spoke to reporters on Sunday.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

World No. 1 Naomi Osaka adds American coach Jermaine Jenkins to team

first_imgJenkins, a hitting partner of Venus Williams in the past, recently was appointed as the United States Tennis Association’s women’s national coach.”Had a great dinner with the team,” Osaka posted on Twitter. “[I am] also taking this moment to thank Jermaine for joining us and coming on board.”Had a great dinner with the team also taking this moment to thank Jermaine for joining us and coming on board lol— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@Naomi_Osaka_) February 28, 2019Osaka, the reigning U.S. and Australian Open champion, has been without a full-time coach since her split this month with Sascha Bajin. Japan Tennis Association trainer Masashi Yoshikawa assisted in her disappointing Dubai Tennis Championships. World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has added Jermaine Jenkins to her team, she announced Thursday.Osaka didn’t confirm Jenkins’ role other than to say the American has linked up with the two-time Grand Slam champion. last_img read more

E-Verify requirement gets Senate panel’s approval

first_imgDES MOINES — A bill to force every Iowa business to check a federal database to confirm prospective employees are legal residents or U.S. citizens has cleared a senate committee. Republican Senator Julian Garrett of Indianola said it’s time for the state to act.“Employers who hire people in the country illegally…that’s unfair to law-abiding people,” Garrett said during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. “And they suffer then because some employers cut their costs by hiring people that they can pay substandard wages to.”Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids, a Democrat, said he supports penalties for businesses that hire undocumented workers, but the bill includes no extra money for state agencies to investigate those companies.“It also forced employers, even if they personally know the employees they’re hiring — so you might have a business where you’re hiring a niece or a nephew — to use a system that routinely wrongly flags thousands of US citizens as not properly documented every year,” Hogg said.The bill has the backing of 26 Republican senators, which means it has enough votes to pass the state senate. If it becomes law, businesses caught hiring undocumented workers would lose their licenses or permits to operate in Iowa.Business groups have raised objections to the bill, arguing it’s up to the federal government to establish immigration policy rather than the states. They warn the bill might create a statewide hiring freeze, too, if there’s another federal government shutdown, since the E-Verify system would be inaccessible.last_img read more