Kobe Bryant is "progressing well," but his return date is still up in the air. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Lakers say that star Kobe Bryant is "progressing well" in his rehabilitation from a torn Achilles, but the team does not expect him to play in any exhibition games, the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan reported on Monday.
"He's progressing well and has met all the targets and milestones of his rehab, and we expect him to make a full recovery," Lakers spokesman John Black told The Times. "One of the key issues is to make sure he builds up strength and endurance not only in his Achilles but also in his legs, knees, back and core."
Black declined to put an exact timetable on Bryant's return, however. And according to Bresnahan, Bryant is expected to miss the team's entire eight-game preseason schedule. The Lakers open the regular season on Oct. 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bryant said last week that he is "ahead of schedule" on his recovery process. But he said it was too early to determine whether or not he'd be able to return for the start of the season. Bryant suffered the injury in April against the Golden State Warriors. He has been making somewhat incredible progress in his rehab, running in late August on an anti-gravity treadmill.
Bryant, the NBA’s highest-paid player, is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $30.5 million. He needs just 676 points to move past Michael Jordan for the No. 3 spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.