He hopes to clear that final hurdle before the weekend is over.
We got to see how it feels tonight. I'm going to try to get another hard session in and then [Friday] morning try to push it again and the same thing tomorrow evening. Continue to just keep on measuring it.
There is no entry for half-speed in the Black Mamba's dictionary. He'll be looking to make those same lethal strikes he's landed throughout his 17-year career.
Always a self-motivator, he's welcomed the critics who remain skeptical that a 35-year-old can fully recover from such a devastating injury, and that his Lakers can still be relevant in a jam-packed Western Conference.
Do you think Bryant would accept a minutes restriction?
But he knows his limits. He sees Father Time tracing his every move. He wants to prove those doubters wrong, but he understands that he has to handle this the right way.
Even if that means adjusting on the fly to a few bumps in the road:
The perfect-case scenario is that we get it right the first time. But if it's not, then you have to be smart about it as well and take a step back and build up the strength and say, "Hey, listen, it's not as good as we thought it was going to be, so let's take a step back and get it to where we want it to be and try again."
So while Sunday is the plan, that date is fluid. If the wait has to continue, it won't be for long. Coach Mike D'Antoni said Kobe is "days" away from returning to the hardwood. According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, however, D'Antoni indicated a near-ish target date, even if it came with tempered expectations.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said "pretty good" odds Kobe would play Sunday than tempers expectations down. Added Kobe looked good in practice— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) December 6, 2013
If Bryant's body responds the right way, it might be hard to keep him under the close watch that most players get when returning from serious injury. While he told McMenamin that he'd "probably" see a reduction in playing time—he logged 38.6 minutes per game last season—that open door he left himself could be key.
As CBS Sports' Royce Young noted, "When Kobe's healthy, you're not going to keep him off the court."
Nor should you. After enduring the season without him, the basketball world is more than ready for a healthy serving of "Vino."