Kobe Bryant has ruled out a return to action this Friday against the Sacramento Kings, but the LA Lakers shooting guard could be back for Sunday's clash against the Toronto Raptors.
The 35-year-old has been out of action since April after rupturing his Achilles tendon against Golden State Warriors - and has subsequently been sidelined for 18 games this season.
Recent reports claimed that Kobe could return to the fold for Friday's clash against the Kings - and rumours further intensified when he was seen dunking left-handed in practice earlier this week - but ESPN LA were told by the man himself that he will not be back until Sunday at the earliest.
"Kobe Bryant just told me that he is NOT going to be playing Friday against Sacramento," ESPN's Dave McMenamin tweeted. "He is not ruling out Sunday against Toronto, however"
Kobe recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers, worth an astronomical $48.5m, meaning he remains the NBA's highest-paid player.