Lakers News: Kobe Bryant Speaks Out on Returning for Opener
The Los Angeles Lakers' 2013-14 season depends on when Kobe Bryant returns from an Achilles injury, and the superstar's comments last week may signal that he won't be ready for the opener.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted "Kobe Up Close" last week (h/t NBA.com), which is when Bryant talked about a variety of subjects. The one topic that Lakers fans were waiting to hear about was his progress rehabbing.
Bryant came out and stated: "I don't know if I'll be ready for opening night."
It's the middle of August, so the future Hall of Famer can't say one way or the other if he will be ready to play in the opener.
A typical timetable for a return from an Achilles injury is anywhere from three months to one year. It has been four months since the injury, and most people expect the star to be ready for Oct. 29 when the Lakers play the Clippers.
The main reason for that kind of optimism is that everyone knows how competitive Bryant is and can't imagine him not pushing himself as much as possible to be ready. He even shared this post on Instagram:
Chasing Michael Jordan's six rings will serve as motivation for Bryant to come back as early as possible. He turns 35 on Friday, so he is running low on time to add to his ring collection.
Bryant was smart to not guarantee that he'd be ready. He's already ahead of schedule in the rehab process, but he needs to make sure he is 100 percent when he returns.
The Lakers roster will feature a couple of returning players in Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets, and Metta World Peace was amnestied in July. Center Chris Kaman and shooting guard Nick Young are now Lakers.
The team isn't likely to contend for a championship, but nobody should doubt Bryant's ability to lead his teammates to the postseason and compete. Los Angeles got younger this offseason and added shooters.
Bryant averaged 27.3 points, six assists and 5.6 rebounds per game last season. He shot 46.3 percent from the floor, which was his highest percentage since the 2008-2009 season.
Will Kobe Bryant be in the Lakers lineup on Oct. 29 against the Clippers?
The Lakers struggled for most of the season, but Bryant was able to get his team to come together in time to make a late run at the playoffs. Getting to the playoffs wasn't enough for the team or the fans, but it could have been a lot worse.
As his career begins to wind down, Bryant needs to be careful about rushing back from a torn Achilles injury. His team will be expecting him to carry the offense when he returns to action, and there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the superstar next season.
The 34-year-old still has plenty of history to make, including getting a sixth ring.
Bryant must return when he is healthy enough to lead the Lakers to the playoffs, whether that is the opener or later.
His comments show that he is going to come back when he is ready, and not a day before. That being said, Bryant is going to do everything possible to make that day Oct. 29.
*All stats are from NBA.com
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