Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said he is unsure whether he will play when Los Angeles tips off its season on Oct. 29 against the Clippers.
The five-time NBA champion said in an interview posted Wednesday by Time Out that he's feeling stronger and is ahead of schedule but that right now he can't realistically say whether he will be ready to go by the end of next month.
"I’m feeling pretty good, stronger than I was. I’m ahead of [my recovery] schedule...I don’t know [whether] that means I’ll start the season – I hope so."
Bryant's return on opening night would be somewhat of an expedited return for an athlete rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon. The two-time Finals MVP, who turned 35 last month, suffered the injury last April against the Golden State Warriors. By contrast, Chicago Bulls All-Star Derrick Rose suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and missed the rest of the series and the entire following season but is expected to play in the Bulls' opener next month.
Bryant spoke to Time Out to prepare for his Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend in Abu Dhabi and Dubai later this month. He is set to make $32 million next season, the most for any player in the league, and said he refuses to take a paycut for what will be the final year of his contract with the Lakers. GOLLIVER: Phil Jackson, Jeannie Buss to produce pro basketball TV show for Showtime