Kobe Bryant is one giant step closer to getting back on the court in a game situation, as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar returned to practice on Saturday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
After seven months rehabbing a torn Achilles, Kobe Bryant has returned to Lakers practice, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 16, 2013
The Lakers later confirmed the report, per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:
Kobe Bryant returned to practice today for the first time in his recovery from Achilles surgery. It was a light session (5 on 0 drills).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 16, 2013
Bryant was cleared to resume all activities with no restrictions on Oct. 9, according to Dr. Robert Klapper.
KOBE. Cleared for ALL activities NO restrictions! He has 3 weeks to reboot to game1. The energy IN Staples will light up this city!— Dr. Robert Klapper (@DrRobertKlapper) October 9, 2013
The superstar admitted he needed to get back in shape after poor eating practices for the past half year, as per Mike Bresnahan of ESPN Los Angeles.
Kobe: "I've got to get my fat ass in shape. Six months of eating whatever the hell I want and not running...caught up to me a little bit."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 9, 2013
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News discovered that Bryant returned to practice with limited participation at the beginning of October, noting that the star shooting guard “performed some light jogging and shooting.”
While Kobe admitted that he felt good, he did specify to Trudell during media day that there is still no concrete timetable for his return:
Kobe said he feels good, but has no return date expectation: "I don’t think we have really a timetable of where I should be right now."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 28, 2013
Shortly after his limited practice appearance, Bryant took a quick trip to Germany to undergo Orthokine platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee. Upon his return, Kobe said he felt ahead of schedule on his recovery and noted he's toward the last stage of his rehabilitation, as per ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne:
Overall, I feel good. Obviously, I feel like I'm ahead of schedule. It's just about trying to get that range of motion back where I feel like I can run comfortably. The last stage is really the explosiveness and the muscle endurance.
The Black Mamba has been working his way back from a devastating torn Achilles that ended his 2012-13 campaign prematurely. He suffered the injury back on April 12 in a game against the Golden State Warriors and was given an initial timetable of six to nine months for a return.
Kobe talked to Rick Fox about the injury, and how he wanted to play through it initially, courtesy of NBA.com:
However, Bryant went on record over the summer to tell his fans that he had “shattered” the normal recovery window and pledged to be back in action sooner than many thought.
Bryant has been sorely needed this season; the Lakers are 4-7 and seriously bereft of talent on the roster. While he's not back yet, this is definitely a good sign for him and the squad.
In fact, according to the Lakers' official Twitter feed, Kobe is already making a major impact on the squad after just one practice.
Jodie Meeks said Bryant’s return to practice provided an immediate boost to the team’s psyche on the floor. Very positive day in El Sugundo.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 16, 2013
Trudell gave us Pau Gasol's take on Bryant's return:
Pau Gasol on Kobe at practice: “He looked good, & did a few moves I didn’t expect him to do right away. I’m very happy for him & for us.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 16, 2013
This will be the superstar’s 18th season in the league, all having been played with Los Angeles.