5 Games Every LA Lakers Fan Must Circle for Kobe Bryant’s Potential Return

Mamba in. 

Would any phrase excite Los Angeles Lakers fans more than that one?

It would signify the official return of Kobe Bryant, who has spent the 2013 offseason rehabbing the ruptured Achilles that he suffered against the Golden State Warriors at the end of the 2012-13 campaign. 

The normal recovery schedule for an Achilles injury like this calls for six to nine months out of action, and that would put Kobe's return date anywhere from October 12 to January 12. However, there's been nothing but good news throughout the process, and it seems almost certain that we'll be looking at the earlier portion of that date range. 

As relayed by the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, Lakers spokesman John Black is keeping those optimistic feelings going, even if he's tempering the expectations: 

He's progressing well and has met all the targets and milestones of his rehab, and we expect him to make a full recovery. 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.

We're going to avoid giving a target return date until he's doing full weight-bearing running and on-court basketball activities, at the earliest.

Bresnahan is also reporting that Kobe is likely to miss the entire preseason, so the first time we could see him suit up is the Lakers' actual opening night. But that's not the only date you should circle on your calendar as a potential return for the Mamba. 

In fact, there are five contests for which you should clear your schedule right now. 

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