Kobe Bryant has been caught between calling himself ahead of schedule while also tempering expectations regarding the recovery timetable for his torn Achilles. The Los Angeles Lakers guard was more bold this weekend and told a group of reporters during a visit to China that he's "shattered" the timetable, Sporting News reports.
Bryant underwent surgery for the injury on April 13, and all along he's pinned a return somewhere in November or December. He divulged that the recovery that usually puts players out of action for nine to 12 months might be cut down thanks to a new procedure.
"We don't know," Bryant told the gathered reporters. "That's the thing about this injury is that the surgical procedure was different, how we did it, was different. Because of that the recovery has been different, the timetable has been different, the normal timetable for recovering from an Achilles, we've shattered that. Three-and-a-half months, I can already walk just fine, I am lifting weight just fine. So we don't know what that timetable is going to be, this is new territory for us all."
There's no doubt Bryant still has apprehension. He said soon after the injury that he'd like to return in six months, which would be in mid-October. While the Lakers have been cautious -- recently hired assistant coach Kurt Rambis told Sporting News that Bryant will still have to be examined by the team's medical staff -- team vice president Jim Buss went on NBATV and said he wouldn't be surprised if Bryant returned in the preseason.
Even if that's a wild guess, the relentless and well-known work ethic of Bryant could lead to a return in a reasonably safe amount of time.
Still, it's an uphill battle for Bryant. He'll be 35 years old by the time the season starts and though he put in 27.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds a game last season, the history of Achilles tears isn't on his side. Chauncey Billups is the most recent NBA victim of the injury and has been slow to bounce back. He torn his Achilles in February of 2012 and played in only 22 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.