The Los Angeles Lakers' regular-season opener has come and gone without Kobe Bryant, and it still remains unclear when the Lakers' five-time champion will return to the court. When asked about a possible return date by Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Bryant said he had no clue:
"I don't. I don't. How can I? I don't even know if I will be able to push it hard tomorrow. I have no idea."
Spears pressed Bryant on the matter, trying to get the Lakers star to commit to a return by December. Naturally, Bryant bristled at the question:
"Dude, I don't know. I don't give a [expletive] what people believe. When I'm ready, I will play."
Bryant revealed that he's starting to push his rehab again in preparation for returning to practice. The 35-year-old said he felt good after ramping up workouts Monday, however, he still doesn't have a projected practice date because he's not sure how his injury will respond after multiple days of high intensity workouts.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni anticipates it will take Bryant a few weeks of practice before he can return to game action. Bryant agreed with that assessment, although he also said he won't return until he feels he can play at an "exceptional" level.
Bryant's rehab wasn't the only topic of conversation, as Spears asked the superstar about his pending free agency next offseason. To the surprise of nobody, Bryant sidestepped the question of exploring the market:
"Am I a free agent right now? No. Next summer is next summer. How do I know what is going to happen? Jim Buss just said they're going to start conversations now. We will start the conversations and go from there."