HONOLULU - Kobe Bryant returned to the basketball court Saturday, admittedly out of shape and scared about what lies ahead for him and his family as his sexual assault case proceeds.
Bryant reported to the Lakers' training camp a day late because he said he was "under the weather." He also said he wanted to remain with his family as long as possible.
Asked if he was scared about the case, in which he was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old Colorado woman, he replied: "Terrified."
"Not so much for myself, but just for what my family is going through," Bryant said. "They had nothing to do with this, but just because their names have been dragged in the mud I'm scared for them."
Bryant made his first public comments since July 18, when he fought back tears at a news conference in Los Angeles and said he was guilty only of adultery.
Bryant is charged with sexually assaulting a woman June 30 at a mountain resort where she worked. He said the two had consensual sex. Free on $25,000 bond, Bryant is scheduled to appear Thursday in Eagle, Colo., for a preliminary hearing.
Bryant appeared serious while speaking with a throng of media in a steamy gym at the University of Hawaii.
GRIZZLIES: Forward Mike Miller signed a six-year contract extension, terms of which were not disclosed. Memphis acquired Miller last season in a trade with the Magic, and he averaged 12.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16 games after the trade. In college Miller led Florida to the 2000 NCAA championship game.
HEAT: Forward Caron Butler had arthroscopic knee surgery and could be sidelined a month. Butler bruised his left knee the first day of workouts Wednesday.
NETS: The team reached a tentative agreement to buy out the contract of eight-time All Star center Dikembe Mutombo, a deal that is believed to be worth approximately $30-million. Team president Rod Thorn and David Falk, Mutombo's agent, brokered the deal. It probably will be finalized Monday. The move saves the Nets about $7-million in salary owed to Mutombo through the end of next season and gives Mutombo a chance to find a team where he can contribute. Thorn tried to trade Mutombo this summer, but there were few takers with $37-million left on his contract.
SONICS: Nick Collison's first season is over before it started. The team's first draft choice in June needs surgery on both shoulders and will be out all of 2003-04. Collison was the 12th pick in the draft after helping Kansas reach the NCAA championship game. He partially dislocated his left shoulder in practice last week. An MRI test showed similar weakness in his right shoulder, and the team didn't want to risk a similar injury there.
SUNS: Center Scott Williams had surgery to repair ligaments in his left thumb and is expected to return in about six weeks. He was injured during practice Friday.