When Kobe Bryant infamously ruptured his Achilles tendon just before the start of the playoffs this past season, many wondered about the future of the superstar and whether he would ever regain his form. The assumption that he would likely have to miss at least the first couple months of the upcoming season was a foregone conclusion. It wasn’t even a matter of doubt. It was a simple matter of medical science and what is typically expected of players that suffer injuries of this magnitude.
If anyone could defy the odds, however, it would be Bryant. All we’ve heard since the guard underwent surgery is that he is far ahead of schedule, and Jim Buss has gone as far as say that he would make the bet that Bryant starts the season in uniform. Even his doctor predicted an early return. So what’s on the mind of Bryant as he continues to recover and rehab? Job B. De Leon of GMA News caught up with the guard to discuss the injury and what’s ahead:
“My [achilles] tendon feels really, really good. I feel strong,” said Bryant, grinning as he thanked his training and medical staff for his speedy recovery.
The initial diagnosis for Bryant’s injury was 9-12 months of recovery and rehabilitation. And though even many experts said he would never fully recover, with some even saying it was time for him to retire, reports on Bryant’s progress indicate that he might already be cleared for the start of the NBA season in late October.
As the competitor he is, Bryant is relishing the chance to prove doubters and haters wrong.
“I think it’s interesting because if to me, if somebody’s doubting that I can come back from this injury, that means if they had the same injury and my same situation, they’d quit, they wouldn’t be able to come back from it. When I hear that, I see signs of weakness,” he said.
“So me coming back and being stronger than I was before, what it says to the doubters is you can accomplish things that you didn’t think you can accomplish,” he concluded. And Bryant expects nothing less than the highest level of success for him and his team.
“I would say getting a sixth championship is [my] number one [priority], then I’d say a sixth championship is number two, and then a sixth championship is number three,” Bryant said, most likely meaning every word.
As mind-boggling as it would be to see him start the season in uniform, you almost expect this kind of progress and mentality from him. In fact, it would be a bigger surprise at this point if he isn’t ready to when November comes around.
Onto other news from around the league:
- Kendrick Perkins is looking to improve his offense for next season, from Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: “I’ve been working, man,” Perkins said. “Been in the gym and basically just working more in the weight room on my explosiveness and touch around the basket, hook shots and stuff like that. I’ve been shooting a lot of jumpers, making sure I make 300 a night. I’m just trying to prepare.”… The basketball world now seems to be overlooking the Thunder going into the 2013-14 season, something that isn’t lost on the Thunder. “They count us out,” Perkins said. “But at the end of the day we feel like each guy at the end of the season said we were going to come back better. So we feel like each guy just got to step their roles up a little bit more and step their games up and we feel like we can do that.”