Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/15/12
Kobe Bryant missed his fifth consecutive game Sunday but hinted about his return from a sore left shin, telling ABC sideline reporter Heather Cox he would "definitely" play before the end of the regular season. Bryant spoke briefly to Cox at the Lakers' game against the Dallas Mavericks about his shin, saying he would be back "well before playoffs." The Lakers have five games left after Sunday and conclude the regular season April 26 against the Sacramento Kings. Bryant hadn't spoken to reporters in more than a week. "It's feeling a lot better," Bryant said at Staples Center, adding he would be playing now if the postseason were under way. Bryant, however, still hasn't started running, so his return might not come Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers took him out of a walking boot a few days ago but would not let him return to action until he started running and then jumping without pain. Bryant is suffering from tenosynovitis, a condition in which a tendon sheath becomes inflamed, causing soreness whenever the tendon slides in or out of the sheath. --Mike Bresnahan
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