Kobe Bryant "is anticipating" playing Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Coach Phil Jackson said after practice Saturday.
Bryant, who didn't speak to the media, sat out the last two games because of swelling in his right knee.
Bryant didn't practice with the team Saturday but did some shooting and what Jackson called his "normal off-day activity" of icing and therapy.
Jackson said he wouldn't put a time limit on Bryant.
"It depends on how he feels," Jackson said. "He may be very live tomorrow and feel great. We'll see how he plays. He obviously wants to compete in the game, so we'll see how it goes."
Jackson and Bryant talked about playing on the team's flight back from Minneapolis on Friday night.
"He said, ‘I have every intention on playing. I just hope it progresses as well as it's going,' " Jackson said.
The Lakers are 5-2 in the games Bryant has missed this season. They were 4-1 when Bryant sat out five games because of a sprained left ankle this season.
Lakers to play it out
The Lakers already have clinched the best record in the Western Conference, meaning they will have home-court advantage as long as they are in the Western Conference playoffs.
So with three regular-season games left against Portland on Sunday, Sacramento on Tuesday and the Clippers on Wednesday, Jackson was asked if it might be time to ease up and rest some of his players.
"It's our job to really compete," Jackson said. "We've got to uphold our end of the bargain. We're not going to give any game away to anybody that's been struggling all season. So we're coming out to compete against Portland the way we should.
"The other games, Sacramento and the Clippers, we'll play those games according to how we do and how our players are doing."
Work, work, work
The Lakers arrived home from Minneapolis about 1 a.m. Saturday.
They had just completed back-to-back games in Denver on Thursday and in Minnesota on Friday, but there they were Saturday back at practice.
Jackson had the group come in for nearly 2½ hours.
It wasn't all physical.
Some of it was watching film and some of the session was on the court.
Asked if the practice was long after back-to-back games, Pau Gasol gave an answer before the question was completed.
"No kidding," Gasol said, smiling. "Did I say that out loud?"
Did the Lakers get some things accomplished?
"I hope so," Gasol said. "No, we really did. We worked offensively on some details, on Portland, the way they play defense, the way they set up, the different things they do. We worked on their plays.
"We watched a lot of video. It was just to get ourselves prepared for tomorrow. That's basically what we tried to accomplish today."