Kobe Bryant is gradually getting closer to returning to the court with his teammates. It has been a little over seven months since Bryant had surgery to repair his Achilles’ tendon, and he is hoping to be able to play soon.
“I feel like I’m ahead of schedule,” Bryant said in an interview for NBA TV on Friday. “If there was a playoff game tonight, I’d play. I’d play. I don’t know how effective I’d be, but I would play.” He continued, “The fadeaway still works, the ballhandling, being able to post. Those are things that I can do right now. But it’s not the playoffs, thank god.”
Bryant has been lightly practicing his “tippy toe” shots, but he and his coach, Mike D’Antoni, say neither of them knows exactly when he will be playing again. Bryant says he doesn’t want to set an official date. He wants to make sure he is 100 percent before he takes the floor again.
“Maybe a little bit more than tippy-toe,” D’Antoni said of Bryant’s shots. “I look out every once in awhile. I haven’t heard back that he’s ready to practice or anything like that. So, he’s just progressing. I think it’s better than yesterday, but I don’t know yet.”
“It’s tough because once I’ve set that as a target then I’m hell-bent at doing it at all costs, even to the detriment of the damn Achilles,” Bryant said. “I try to just stay in the moment and really try to listen to my body. The biggest thing is I have not done anything athletically for six months, seven months. You got to get your body back in shape. And doing that, if I was healthy — completely healthy — you have that much time off and get back in shape and your knee is going to ache, your ankle is going to hurt, your back is going to be out. So you got to go through your progressions as you normally would over the course of a summer.”
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