Kobe Bryant punctuated a recent trip to China with the announcement that he and his doctors have "shattered" the projected timetable for his recovery from surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak isn't so sure just yet.
After incurring the injury in on April 12, Bryant was expected to require six to nine months to recover. Kupchak told Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio on Thursday that Bryant's return and play will be the team's biggest variable.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"Kobe is a big question mark," Kupchak said. "We're very optimistic. He's getting treatment every day. He's in the facility right now, but he hasn't been on a basketball court.
"Our best player, one of the best players to ever play the game, is recovering from an Achilles' tendon tear," Kupchak said. "You have a player who is up in age and just had a devastating injury."
Bryant, 35, is beginning the final year on his contract but Kupchak doesn't see him retiring any time soon.
From the Times:
"If he can play at a high level, I can't see any reason why he wouldn't be," Kupchak said. "There really has been no discussions beyond next year."
While expressing great optimism last week, Bryant was not yet ready to predict when he would return to the court.
"The surgical procedure was different ... and because of that the recovery has been different," Bryant said while traveling in Shenzhen, China, according to NBA.com. "The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months [and] I can already walk just fine. I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all."
Kupchak offered a more positive update on veteran point guard Steve Nash' recover from back, hip and hamstrings injuries.
From the Times:
"Steve, my understanding, is very close to 100%, but he's not as young as he once was," Kupchak said.