Kobe Bryant is back!
It is time to get excited, Laker fans. Kobe Bryant practiced for the first time since going down with a torn Achilles tendon on April 12. Okay, so he didn’t have a full contact practice with his teammates, but he took the floor, did some light jogging, and went through shooting drills. Less than six months following a fully ruptured Achilles, the 35-year-old is defying logic.
No official timetable or update was provided for the Lakers’ superstar, but Bryant is one player who takes pride in beating the odds and setting records. He’s a warrior. No one—not even Bryant—truly knows when he will make his full return at this point, but the uninterrupted progress he continues to publicly share should have Staples Center chanting “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe” sooner than most insiders expected back when the injury occurred. Some even questioned if Bryant would ever play again.
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Prior to Wednesday, Bryant had not jogged without using the Lakers’ altered-gravity treadmill. Even with the full body weight in jogging, Bryant was not pushing his luck. His recovery has been a marathon to this point, and he’s not attempting to sprint to the finish line just yet.
On Wednesday, the 35-year-old only took set shots and abstained from getting air under his feet on his release—no jump shots.
Still, everyone in and around the team appeared enthusiastic about the progress. Although several players will see a reduced role once Bryant returns, the team goal is to get Bryant back and work toward improving as a full unit.
The truth of the matter is that the sooner Bryant returns, the sooner the Lakers can set permanent roles and evaluate their true potential. On Wednesday, Kobe Bryant took some massive steps, literally and figuratively, to coming back and making the Lakers whole again.