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Jim Buss: Kobe Bryant ahead of schedule, could return by preseason

The Lakers think Kobe Bryant might be able to return by the preseason. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images) The Lakers think Kobe Bryant might be able to return by the preseason. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers Vice President Jim Buss said Thursday that Kobe Bryant is well ahead of schedule in his return from a torn Achilles tendon and could return in time for preseason.

"Well, we're in Vegas, and I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason," Buss told NBA TV during the Lakers-Milwaukee Bucks game at the Las Vegas Summer League, according to ESPN.com.

"He's real sharp in taking care of himself and he's not going to rush anything just to get back and prove a point. He's going to come back when he's right. He's a machine. He's inhuman. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season. I can't believe how much he's progressed so far."

Bryant has said that he is progressing well in his return from the Achilles tear he suffered in April. However, he said that a more realistic goal was a return by November or December.

“I’m shooting for November, December, latest," Bryant told ESPN Radio in June. "That’s my goal in my head. That's what I’m shooting for. I’m really, really determined about getting there. You know, I won't have any fear or any worry about the tendon rupturing again. I mean, there’s nothing I can do about it. If it goes again, it goes again. But once I’m ready to go, it’s on.”

The original timetable on his recovery was somewhere between six and nine months. A return in the early stages of that original timetable would be somewhere in October during training camp.

Bryant's return will be key for a much different Lakers team that lost star center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets this offseason. They also used their amnesty provision to waive forward Metta World Peace.

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