Jim Buss: Kobe will return ‘probably’ by preseason

Jim Buss is in Vegas, and he just made himself one heck of a bet.

The Lakers executive vice president of player personnel said on Thursday he feels that Kobe Bryant will be ready for action by the time the preseason rolls around.

Bryant, 34, is recovering from an April Achilles tendon injury that ended his season. Bryant will make nearly $30.5 million next season, the last of his current deal, and the speculation has already begun as to when he’ll be back on the court.

“Well, we are in Vegas, I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back, probably by preseason,” Buss said, speaking during an NBA TV broadcast of the Lakers’ summer league game on Thursday.

“He’s real sharp at taking care of himself, and he’s not going to rush anything . . . just to prove a point. He’s going to come back when he’s right.

“He’s a machine, he’s inhuman in that way. I see him coming back at the beginning of the season. I can’t believe how much he’s progressed so far.”

There’s been no response, yet, from Bryant, who averaged 27.3 points, six assists and 5.6 rebounds in 2012-13. However, Bryant has been optimistic about his recovery and has  repeatedly targeted a return date sooner than the nine months of rehab his type of injury usually requires.