Kobe Bryant Must Not Rush Return to Los Angeles Lakers

The Black Mamba must carefully consider when he chooses to slither back onto an NBA court. The more you read, the closer it seems Kobe Bryant is to returning to the court.

First he told Rick Fox on NBA TV that if the Los Angeles Lakers were in the playoffs right now, he'd be playing.

Now, ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne is reporting that Bryant could return at the end of the month:

"Yeah, yeah I can," Bryant said when asked if it was possible he might return in one of the team's five remaining games in November.

Bryant has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon April 12. While Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni stressed that he's not back to 100 percent and there are "areas where it still needs to get stronger," both noted they've been "pleasantly surprised" by how well the guard seems to have responded to the escalation in activity since he was cleared to resume all basketball activities Saturday.

Bryant's continued rehabilitation remains one of the bigger stories in the league this season. When he returns, will he be the kind of player he was before the injury?

In order to make sure that answer is yes, Bryant must remain committed to taking whatever time is necessary to fully rehab that Achilles tendon. It would be stupid to work your butt off getting back and then rush things and end up right back on the operating table again.

As competitive as he is, you have to wonder if Bryant might push that repaired Achilles too hard too early and end up doing even more damage.

It's all well and good to make progress in practice and everything, but doing that and playing well are two things entirely.

Just look at Derrick Rose.

Even after taking a year off to let his repaired ACL heal, he still doesn't look like himself just yet. And that was after a great preseason and talk about how he was actually able to leap higher n...

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