LOS ANGELES — With less than three months to go before the Lakers face the Clippers on Oct. 29, the opening night of the NBA season, Kobe Bryant spoke in Manila about his injury and the recovery process he’s been going through all summer.
Bryant, who recently toured China, appeared at Manilas Newport Performing Arts Theater on Monday and told the crowd that his Achilles tendon feels “really, really good.”
Bryant tore the tendon on April 12 in a game against Golden State and had surgery the next day.
Bryant recently said that he’s “shattered” his recovery timetable, which is usually about nine months for an injury of that nature. There’s been chatter of him returning for opening night, and he’s said he’d like to be back by November or December, estimates that all would have him back on the court at least a month early.
The Lakers, for their part, have been mum on a specific timetable, although new assistant coach Kurt Rambis said in July on the Dan Patrick Show that he thinks the team will be getting a more specific plan in place in August.
For now, Bryant is simply continuing his rehab and easing more and more basketball activities into his repertoire.
“The trainers go with me everywhere,” Bryant said in Manila. “Family vacations, business trips — they’re there all the time.”
For now, no news is probably the smart approach. Of course Bryant wants to make it back on the court as soon as possible, but that might not be the most rational approach. Achilles tears are serious injuries, problematic enough to reshape and even end careers, and it’s not like Bryant is a young player anymore. He’ll be 35 when the season starts, and if he wants to salvage a few more years of his career, a later return date to a team that is unlikely to make too much of a ripple in the Western Conference this year might be the route to take.
On a non-basketball note, Bryant noted his favorite album in the hip-hop genre is “Reasonable Doubt” by Jay Z, which was released in 1996, the year Bryant joined the NBA and the Lakers. — The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.