Kobe Bryant Return: Realistic Expectations for Superstar in 2013-14

Over the course of the past five months, the NBA community hasn't been able to spend a single moment without hearing about the return of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Seeing as Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of professional basketball, that's not too surprising.

The question is, what are realistic expectations for Kobe once he returns for the 2013-14 season?

According to Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times, there isn't a timetable on when Kobe may return from surgery on his torn Achilles tendon. Many have speculated that he'd be ready for the season opener, but at this moment, nothing has been confirmed.

The only thing we do know is that Kobe left the country to undergo a procedure that is unrelated to his torn Achilles tendon.

For those concerned, this isn't expected to push back Bryant's return date.

Once Kobe does return, not too many people know what to expect. As great of a warrior as he may be, Kobe is 35 years old and coming off of one of the most severe injuries an athlete can sustain.

If there's one thing we know for certain, Bryant will see decreased playing time.


Reasonable Playing Time

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, Bryant played in 78 games, plus the All-Star Game, and averaged 38.6 minutes per contest at the age of 34. Bryant played 39.2 minutes per game after the All-Star break and saw that number jump to 45.2 minutes during the month of April.

In 2013-14, expect Bryant, now 35, to get the Tim Duncan treatment and see more time resting on the bench in preparation for the postseason.

Bryant is entering his 18th season in the league, which makes him much older than the average NBA player—a scary thought considering many are lucky to play until 35. During the course of his career, he's played in 1,239 regular season ga...

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