Watch Kobe Bryant Take His First Steps Without Walking Boot

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 20, 2013

One small step for Kobe Bryant amounted to one giant leap for the hopes of Los Angeles Lakers fans wishing to see their superstar return to health after tearing his Achilles on April 12 against the Golden State Warriors.

Bryant posted a video to his Instagram account of his first steps since his surgery more than two months ago. He's not jumping over any cars, but hey, a guy's got to start somewhere, right?

Appearing on the "Mason and Ireland" show on ESPN 710 Thursday, Bryant indicated that his Achilles was actually feeling better than it did before he injured it in April. In addition, Bryant said that work on an elliptical machine and some strength training would be the next steps in his long road back.

According to Bryant, he expects to be back in action at the very beginning of the 2013-14 season:

Kobe Bryant targets return in November or December http://t.co/69jR1mw7PI

— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 19, 2013

That's an ambitious target, but if anyone can will his way back in time, it's probably Bryant.

And while it's hard to imagine a 35-year-old Bryant (his birthday is in August) returning at anything close to his previous form, the Black Mamba is already displaying his trademark confidence.

Lots of interesting stuff from @kobebryant just now. He's doing well with his rehab, and is not worried at all about his game coming back.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 19, 2013

The Lakers are into the luxury tax by an almost comical margin, and they have to find a way to deal with what's sure to be an offseason circus surrounding Dwight Howard's unrestricted free agency.

Aside from a few more updates like this one, Bryant will probably spend the summer quietly working his way back. Clearly, he's already taken the first steps in that process.