Asked when he thought he would return from his ruptured Achilles, Kobe told Lakers.com's Mike Trudell and Lakers radio voice John Ireland that he's aiming to play before 2014:
On when he'll play, @kobebryant: "I'm shooting for November or December."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 19, 2013
Returning in November or December wouldn't put Kobe back in the lineup in time for opening day like he was originally hoping for.
Still, coming back one month (two months tops) into the season is far better than the Los Angeles Lakers being forced to play without him until the All-Star break.
When he was on crutches, Dwight Howard and the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Los Angeles needs Bryant to help shoulder some of the burden, especially if Superman leaves.
Injury talk being as depressing as it is, Kobe was kind enough to provide more than just some inside information on his rehab. He also revealed who his all-time starting five would be (via ESPNLA's Arash Markazi):
Magic, Jordan, Bird, Russell and Kareem is Kobe's all-time starting five. @ESPNLA710— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 19, 2013
Personally, I'm surprised Kobe didn't name himself. A year or two ago, I believe he would've. Shameless bravado is a specialty of his.
Pushing 35, Kobe runs deeper than self-confidence now. This season, we saw a humbler, more pensive Mamba. And it's showed even through injury.
Because everything comes back to Howard, I can't help but wonder if he missed an opportunity to score some brownie points for the Lakers in their continued pursuit of the big man. Naming him to his all-time starting five would have been both unfounded and the ultimate form of flattery.
However, he was probably better off being honest. No one would have taken him seriously. I doubt Kobe himself could have gotten through that list with a straight face.
Speaking of which, he predicted where Howard and Chris Paul are headed (via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News):
Kobe on Chris Paul/Dwight Howard: "I think at the end of the day, everybody stays."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 19, 2013
Alas, these forthcoming sentiments are yet another reason why Kobe is among the best in the league. This type of jovial honesty used to follow every Lakers win, and the cold, hard truth would come after every loss.
We miss that. Interviews and basketball in general can seem so bland without him.
November or December can't get here soon enough.