Is Kobe Bryant’s Knee Therapy Proof He’s Gearing Up for Early Return to Lakers?

On the night Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, nature beat nurture. Everyday thereafter, nurture has bowed to its victim's resolve. Kobe wants to return, and he will do it on his own time.

Time, Satan's wet nurse, had finally caught up to the Los Angeles Lakers superstar with a bionic work ethic and riotous disdain for being average. Too many times, a sneering Kobe had spat in the face of age and the regression that was supposed to accompany it. This wasn't the cosmos exacting revenge on its most disobedient foe; this was the Black Mamba's downfall, doubling as a wake-up call. 

No one is above time; no one is beyond its reach. That was the message being sent. Not just to Kobe, but to all of us: the believers in ageless prodigies, the enemies of natural reversion. 

"Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player," Kobe wrote in a cathartic Facebook post the morning after sustaining his injury. "Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??"

Doubt, a seldom-used term in Black Mamba's world, had infiltrated Kobe's brain. The same 34-year-old sensation who had willed the Lakers back into playoff contention and had five titles to his name, was wilting under the pressures he routinely gutted.

But just as quickly as the agnostic Kobe came, he went.

"Maybe this is how my book ends," he wrote in the same post. "Maybe Father Time has defeated me...Then again maybe not!"

Sedated Kobe hasn't made an appearance since. It's been all shattering timetables and "You Showed Us" tributes instead. Confident Kobe was back in a big way, predicting he would play opening night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Swarmed by reporters at Lakers Media Day, however, he was unable to give the definitive answer everyone was looking for. There was no guarantee he'd be ready to start the 2013-14 regular season....

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