Kobe Bryant is targeting a return for Sunday when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Toronto Raptors, he told ESPN's Dave McMenamin on Thursday. Bryant is nearing the end of an eight-month rehabilitation from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
"I'm trying," Bryant said after practice Thursday when asked specifically about the Toronto game. "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."
Bryant's return Sunday is no guarantee, however. Earlier this week, Friday was named as a target date before the timetable was pushed back to Sunday. If Bryant can't play against the Raptors, the next possible day to return would be the following Tuesday when the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns.
Bryant has been monitoring his own progress closely. He admitted he may still be limited when he returns, noting that scar tissue in his left ankle joint has kept his mobility in check. As a result, Bryant has no problem spending extra time on the bench if need be.
"The perfect-case scenario is that we get it right the first time," Bryant said. "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.'"