While the Lakers are preparing for two exhibition games in China this week, the major focus remains on Kobe Bryant and his Achilles recovery. After all, the Lakers’ performance this season will most likely be determined by when Kobe returns and how effective he will be after suffering the most serious injury of his career.
Last week, Kobe revealed that he had been given the green light to increase his workouts and conditioning process, and he also claimed that he needed three weeks of intensive conditioning to get back into game shape.
In Beijing, Kevin Ding talked to Kobe about his progress with his Achilles. Bryant shared:
“I haven’t had any pain or any soreness whatsoever. It’s kind of a flexibility thing, and getting the range of motion back—feel like you can bend without having to lift the heel up. After months of the tendon being compressed, now you have to work to stretch it out a little bit.”
Bryant is now getting a feel for when and how much he can push his Achilles. He hasn’t participated in any on-court basketball-related activities, but that next step is coming soon. Bryant spent Monday’s practice running the concourse level of the arena.
However, Kobe also added:
“if today was a playoff or NBA Finals [game], could I play? Probably.”
For now, Bryant will remain focused on testing his Achilles in order to get a feel for when he can return to basketball activities. The intense workouts and conditioning process will continue whether he is in China or at the practice facility in El Segundo.
The Lakers play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday morning in Beijing.
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