Two sure signs that Kobe Bryant can't be too far away from a return to the court: he's talking openly about ramping up his conditioning, and his sarcasm is in midseason form.
"I've got to get my fat ass in shape," Bryant joked Wednesday, as he spoke with the media. "Six months of eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not running, stuff like that. I've got to get in shape."
Bryant spent a portion of his offseason wearing a boot following season-ending surgery to repair a torn Achilles. In August, he was cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill. The Associated Press reports that Bryant is now running with "his full body weight" on a treadmill, and that his current regimen includes "light jogging and calf exercises."
Following the Achilles surgery in mid-April, Bryant's initial timeline was set at 6-to-9 months, and he will hit the six-month mark this weekend. The 15-time All-Star told reporters Wednesday that he will need roughly "three weeks" of conditioning before he's ready to go, and the Lakers will open the regular season against the Clippers on Oct. 29, which is now less than three weeks away.
"I'm just keeping it all open right now," Bryant said Wednesday, when asked if he would be ready for opening night. "I don't know why you guys are so hellbent on timelines. It's like the most ridiculous thing to me, it's entertaining. When I'm ready, I'm ready."
Bryant's self-deprecating "fat ass" quip came one day after he discussed his recent trip to Germany for platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee during an in-game interview aired on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
“It’s going well, I feel good,” he said, during the Lakers' preseason win over the Nuggets on Tuesday. “Obviously I feel like I’m ahead of schedule. It’s about kind of getting that range of motion where I feel like I can run comfortably. The last stage is really the explosiveness and the muscle endurance and that will come.” Bryant, 35, is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him an NBA-high $30.5 million. The five-time champion needs just 676 points to move past Michael Jordan for the No. 3 spot on the all-time scoring list.