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Lakers star Bryant set for Sunday return

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is poised to return to NBA action on Sunday for the first time since tearing his left Achilles tendon in April.

Bryant's return, fervently awaited by the Lakers faithful, was announced with suitable drama in a video posted on his Facebook page.

It showed his number 24 jersey floating in ghostly fashion — battered by wind and rain.

“The legend continues ... Dec. 8,” revealed a closing caption.

The Lakers, who visit the Sacramento Kings on Friday, host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, a club he once scored 81 points against.

Bryant began training on court with his teammates in mid-November and has indicated in recent days that his return was close.

He has said that when he returns he wants to have the same pep in his steps that helped the Lakers win five NBA titles between 2000 and 2010 and helped the U.S. Olympic squad claim gold in 2008 and 2012.

On Thursday he practiced with the Lakers' second team, his third straight day of training.

He said his ankle felt stronger than it had the previous day.

“I'm trying,” Bryant said Thursday of his push to return to competition.

Bryant said this week his ankle is responding better after multiple training sessions.

“I don't feel like I have any limitations (now), really,” Bryant said Thursday. “The change of gear is not quite where I want it to be, but it's easy to compensate through that and go out there and be effective.”

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