Coming back from a torn Achilles’s tendon in his left foot, Kobe Bryant once again will be expected to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs at age 35. Kobe is “feeling good” but is not yet sure when exactly he will be able to return to the Lakers in 2013.
Returning from Dubai a few hours before the Lakers held their media day before the new NBA season officially gets underway, Kobe gave reporters an update on his recovery. “I don’t think we really have a particular timetable as far as where I should be right now, but I’m feeling good,” he said.
After going under the knife to repair the torn tendon in April was six to nine months. A wide range of times given the start of preseason and the regular season fall in that range, Kobe still is not able to provide the world with more clarity for when he returns.
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know” Kobe said. “There is no timetable.”
As far as the rehab process goes, Kobe feels good. He doesn’t know when he will be in basketball shape, but added that he has never felt 100 percent heading into a new season in his career.
So far he has progressed to running on an altered-gravity treadmill where he is carrying roughly 80 percent of his body weight. Ladder exercises have also been added on a basketball court, but Kobe is not yet able to sprint.
Always one to give it all, Bryant emphasized his drive to get back to the court. “My goal is to play tonight,” said Bryant, who has never played fewer than 65 games in a season during his career. “So, it’s about being smart about it and pacing it the right way and just seeing how it does. It’s really a strength thing now and just seeing how the explosiveness holds up and how the recovery holds up after that.”
The aging Lakers need Bryant on the court if they want to contend this season. One of the oldest rosters in the NBA, the Lakers also need a big year out of Steve Nash, who played just 50 games in 2012 due to injury.
Losing Dwight Howard in the front court in free agency only places more importance on the return of Bryant to his Hall of Fame form.
The Lakers always have the ability to win with Kobe on the floor, but without a time table for return the future is far from clear with this team. The fact that he is feeling good provides at least a bit of optimism heading into the preseason for Los Angeles.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express