Lakers coach on Kobe Bryant's return: 'We probably hyped it too much'

Yeah, so, about that over-the-top video announcing Kobe Bryant's return -- you know, the one that featured his jersey flailing, tearing and repairing to dramatic music.

According to Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni, it may have been a bit premature.

"We probably hyped it up too much," D'Antoni said of Bryant's return. "He hasn't played in eight months, and it's going to take a while to get back on par, but he'll get there."

In Bryant's first game back since suffering a torn Achilles' tendon last season, the superstar finished with an unimpressive nine points on two-for-nine shooting in the team's 106-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. He also had eight turnovers.

D'Antoni stressed that it's going to take time before Bryant returns to playing at the level people expect of him.

"They thought he was going to come in and rain something on everybody, but it takes him a little while, it takes everybody [a little while] to get back in the groove," he said. "He's got to get his legs. I think it was a good outing, but he'll definitely be better every time he goes out."

The Lakers had a light practice Monday and Bryant participated in all of the activities without any soreness, according to D'Antoni.

"He said he felt better today than he did yesterday," D'Antoni said, later adding "We didn't do a lot today. It was just kind of a mental session."

Speaking of which, coach, will Bryant have any mental repercussions from his disappointing debut?

"No, we knew it would be kind of rocky because it's kind of going back to training camp," D'Antoni said. "We've got to figure out the right five, the combinations, and get guys into shape -- and not guys -- but getting Kobe back up to snuff, it's a little bit of a process but we'll do it."

Of course, Bryant wasn't a fan of his performance, after Sunday's game giving himself a grade of "F." Pau Gasol, however, was less critical of his teammate.

"He's superhuman, but he's still a human," Gasol said. "He needs a little bit of time to get back into his old self and feel more confident."

Gasol stressed that we will again see the old Bryant.

"I have plenty of faith," Gasol said. "I don't worry about Kobe. He'll be fine."


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