Quick, everybody panic!
I hope you're sitting down, because this news will be pretty distressing. Kobe Bryant had to miss practice—wait for it—for precautionary reasons. The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed the star shooting guard was a bit sore and sat out Thursday's practice.
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com reported that this rest isn't any sort of indicator that Bryant is behind on his rehabilitation process following his Achilles injury.
Bryant excited Lakers fans when he told Rick Fox of NBA TV that if L.A. was in the playoffs, he'd be on the court right now.
Later in the week, he discussed how he thought the end of the month was a realistic projection for his return to the team, per ESPN Los Angeles's Ramona Shelburne.
There's no reason to jump to any quick conclusions and hypothesize that because Bryant missed practice today, it in any way means that his rehab has been stunted.
Don't forget he just returned to practice. This isn't some unforeseen catastrophe following weeks of Bryant looking great on the court.
Whatever he has done in his own time to heal that Achilles and get back into form doesn't measure up to an NBA practice. This is the first time he's gotten into five-on-five action since that injury in April.
Regardless of how much of a competitor Bryant is, there's going to be that transition process in the early stages of his return where his body has to get back into basketball shape. In addition, he has to test out the limits of that repaired Achilles.
Bryant is 35 years old. He's been playing in the league since he was 18. That's 17 years of playing professional basketball. Sprinkled throughout those 17 seasons are the summers when he was a member of Team USA and essentially had little offseason to let his body recover from whatever grueling campaign he was coming off of.
Suffice it to say that Bryant's body has taken a lot of punishment over the years.
At his age, you can't expect him to have some sort of superhuman recovery, nor should he be expected to duplicate the success of Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III had in their rehab following ACL injuries.
There are going to be these little hiccups before Bryant makes his full return to the Lakers. And even then, there will likely be games where he has to sit out because the team wants to be cautious with him, much as the Chicago Bulls have done with Derrick Rose.