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Lakers' Kobe Bryant (Achilles) returns to practice

(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)Kobe Bryant (center) averaged 27.3 points, 6 assists and 5.6 rebounds last season. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant practiced with his Lakers teammates on Saturday for the first time during his rehabilitation from an April surgery to repair a torn left Achilles.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the development, which was confirmed by USA Today Sports.

The 15-time All-Star missed training camp, preseason and the Lakers' first 11 games, and has been gradually ramping up his training regimen in recent weeks.

Bryant told NBA TV this week that his recovery was progressing well.

"I feel like I'm ahead of schedule," Bryant said. "If there was a playoff game tonight, I'd play. I'd play. I don't know how effective I would be but I would play. The fadeaway still works. The ball-handling, being able to post, those are things I can do right now. But it's not the playoffs, thank God."

There is still no official timetable for Bryant's return to the court. L.A. is 4-7 without him.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said it "would be tough" for Bryant to return to the court by Thanksgiving.

Following the Achilles surgery in mid-April, Bryant’s initial timeline was set at 6-to-9 months, and he is right at the seven-month mark. Back in October, he traveled to Germany for platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee. Shortly after that trip, he told reporters that he would need at least “three weeks” of conditioning before he was ready to go.

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. He averaged 27.3 points, 6 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game last season.
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