For those wanting to see Kobe Bryant pretty soon, don’t hold your breath. For those who want to see Bryant take his time healing his injury, well it appears he’s doing just that. For those that believe Bryant’s long-term absence could ultimately benefit his health and the Lakers’ chances in the NBA lottery, well, we’ll have to wait and see.
Either way, Bryant hardly offered an encouraging sign surrounding the rehab with his fractured left knee.
“It’s progressing slowly. It really tests my patience,” Bryant said in a recent interview with Jacques Slade from Kustoo.com that mostly centered on his work with Nike. “There’s only so much I can do. I find myself relegated to a bike. The first few weeks, it’s cool. I’m getting a good workout in. Third or fourth, I’m thinking I need to do something else. I want to play. I want to run. I want to do something different. But you got to do what you got to do.”
The Lakers plan to reevaluate Bryant on Friday, perhaps giving him medical clearance to advance his rehab beyond stationary bike exercises. But the Lakers anticipate Bryant would need a couple of weeks to progress fully toward full-court practices. Add the days up, and Bryant could return as early as the beginning of April, but that presumes he doesn’t experience any setbacks.
Bryant missed the first 19 games of the season while rehabbing his left Achilles tendon. He then appeared in six games, averaging 13.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting, 5.7 turnovers and 6.3 assists, a far drop from his career 25.5 points on 45.4 percent shooting, three turnovers and 4.8 assists. Bryant then suffered what could wind up being a season-ending fractured left knee injury after colliding with Memphis forward Tony Allen on Dec. 17, 2014.
Does Bryant have any sense when he’ll ultimately heal?
“It’s really tough to say,” Bryant said. “These injuries are really weird. I’ve never had this kind of fracture before. You’re almost at the mercy of the bones. There’s nothing you can do to speed up that process. You almost have to sit and just wait and wait for the bones to heal and then go from there.”