Torn Achilles tendon? Did you really expect such a trivial matter to keep Kobe Bryant out of games?
Kobe had said before his target was to recover from the injury in time to play in the Lakers season opener. He reiterated that to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com — and added he’s going to recruit Dwight Howard to take the court with him.
But the first priority for Kobe is to get healthy and be there when the season tips off.
“I hope so,” Bryant said in a sit-down interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Monday. “That’s the challenge. With the tendon, there’s really only but so much you can do. There’s a certain amount of time that they deem necessary for the tendon to heal where you don’t overstretch it and now you never get that spring back.
“So, you just have to be patient, let the tendon heal, and then when that moment comes when they say, ‘OK, we can take off the regulator so to speak and now it’s on you to train as hard as you can to get back to where you want to be,’ that’s going to be a good day.”
It’s good to hear Kobe really listening to the doctors — this isn’t an injury you can just train your way past. Being patient matters. And being patient sucks, but Kobe is doing it. That’s the key thing.
As for free agent Dwight Howard, who wants to hear from other teams, Kobe is also patient.
“For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be,” Bryant said. “We all want him here. But then that’s when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don’t start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument.”
We’ll see if Kobe’s plan comes together — if he walks on to the court opening night next to Howard, the Lakers are an interesting and dangerous team. But right now that’s a big “if.”