Kobe Bryant will not return for the Los Angeles Lakers home opener against the Clippers on October 29.
The 15-time All-Star guard is still recovering from an achilles heal injury and when asked if he would return for the match Mike D’Antoni bluntly responded, “No, my God. I know he’s Superman, but my God. He hasn’t run yet.”
Kobe Bryant underwent Achilles surgery in mid-April and was initially given a 6-to-9 month recover time. Two weeks ago Bryant said he was undergoing conditioning that would take upwards of three weeks to complete. Based on that timeframe he would have been ready for the season opener.
This week Bryant reverted from his earlier statement, telling reporters that he has “scaled back” his activity after the teams tour through Asia. In comments to NBCLA.com Bryant explains:
“I was cranking it up the entire time I was in China. I’ve scaled back since, just to let it heal up a little bit more and get a little bit more flexibility to it. It feels good to just run and break a sweat by running.”
Later in videotaped comments Bryant added:
“The hardest part is not thinking ahead. If you think ahead about what it’s going to be like when I come back, you get excited, but you get disappointed because you’re still here in this predicament. One of the things I haven’t really tested is the getting off the floor part, the jumping part. I’ve got to measure that. That’s got to be next. You want to get out there and push a little bit, but you’ve got to keep your patience but it’s tough. You’ve got to focus on the moment, focus on day by day getting better, and believing that that time will come.”
During the off-season Kobe Bryant was spotted wearing a boot to protect his foot. By August he was running on an anti-gravity treadmill. At this time Kobe is cleared to jog but not run.
After six-months with only a light exercise regime it will be interesting to see how well Kobe Bryant performs when he finally returns.