Bryant set to return Friday

Following a seven-game absence, Los Angeles star guard Kobe Bryant will make his return to the starting lineup Friday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer who's missed action due to tenosynovitis of the left shin, has averages of 28.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season.

The Lakers went 5-2 during Bryant's absence and hold a one-game advantage over the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division title and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoff standings with three games left to play for both teams.