The Los Angeles Lakers have faced a tough year that featured the departure of center Dwight Howard via free agency and a season-ending Achilles injury to shooting guard Kobe Bryant. But, the amazing recovery of Bryant should have the franchise excited about next season.
Bryant told Jonathan Hartzell of NBA.com about the unorthodox surgery and how fast he is healing from the Achilles surgery:
The surgical procedure was different […] and because of that the recovery has been different. The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months I can already walk just fine, I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all.
This news is flat-out amazing for Bryant who was expected to be out six to nine months, per the Lakers’ official Twitter account. The fact that he is already lifting weights is a great sign that he should return to full strength in a more timely fashion.
While Bryant was uncommitted toward setting a timetable, there is little doubt that the team is hoping to get him back healthy as soon as possible.
Without Howard on the team (signed with the Houston Rockets this offseason), Bryant is the unquestioned No. 1 star again and the man that will depict how much success Los Angeles will amass next season.
If the Lakers don’t have Bryant on the court for any extensive period of time, there will be little hope for the franchise to make the postseason in 2014.
Bryant ruptured his Achilles’ tendon on April 12 against the Golden State Warriors, and the subsequent surgery ended his season prematurely. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the team, as the veteran was just starting to round into elite form and was in the process of bringing his team into the playoff chase.
The Lakers star was averaging a very impressive 27.3 points, six assists and 5.6 rebounds per game before the injury, and without Howard to take some of the load off his shoulders, Los Angeles will likely need even more from the soon-to-be 35-year-old superstar.
Whether Bryant and his surgically-repaired ankle can return to elite form is the biggest question of the year for the Lakers, but the quick recovery should ease the minds of those associated with the team.