Kobe Bryant Targets 2013 Season Opener for Return from Achilles Tear

Justin Onslow@@JustinOnslowNFLContributor IIJune 3, 2013

Don’t ever tell Kobe Bryant he can’t do something.

Just six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon, the Black Mamba is already talking about a potential return. 

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 4, at 5:40 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Kobe Bryant tweeted that he is off of his crutches and walking:

---End of update---

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Bryant is eyeing a return for the 2013-14 season opener, hoping to be back in playing shape in time for another run with the Los Angeles Lakers:

I hope so. That's the challenge. With the tendon, there's really only but so much you can do. There's a certain amount of time that they deem necessary for the tendon to heal where you don't overstretch it and now you never get that spring back. So, you just have to be patient, let the tendon heal and then when that moment comes when they say, 'OK, we can take off the regulator so to speak, and now it's on you to train as hard as you can to get back to where you want to be,' that's going to be a good day.

Whether he can make that happen remains to be seen, but as Bryant has proved throughout his 17-year NBA career, it’s never a good idea to bet against him.

While Bryant’s career may be coming to an end in the near future, he will undoubtedly walk away from the games on his own terms. At 34, it would have been easier for him to let the injury dictate his path going forward, but that is simply not in his makeup. 

Of course, the 15-time All-Star may have to return to a very different Lakers squad in 2013. With Dwight Howard slated to be a free agent on July 1, the idea of challenging for another title next season doesn’t look quite as promising.

Still, Kobe knows Los Angeles will find a way to replenish its talent, even if Howard leaves in free agency. Per McMenamin:

This franchise is a franchise that you really don't have to worry about too much, because no matter what happens, whether it's a year from now, two years from now, whatever the case may be, they're always going to find a way to have an impact on this league.

One way or another, Bryant hopes to prove that next season. It may prove to be an uphill battle, but that would be nothing new for one of the fiercest competitors in league history.