Kobe Bryant Should Take His Time Returning from Achilles Injury

Expecting Kobe Bryant to make a miraculous return anywhere near opening day is just unrealistic. It would be wise and in the best interest of his future if the Lakers star exercised caution in his return to the court.

The 35-year-old icon tore his Achilles tendon on April 12, which means he's six months removed from an injury that typically sidelines athletes on the latter end of 6-9 months. In typical Bryant fashion, he aimed for an opening day return, but that was officially ruled out by ESPN's Dave McMenamin. 

On Monday, Kobe moved from ground running to an "anti-gravity" treadmill that reduces impact per Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan:

Considering he was running on the ground before and now he's not, I don't know how you can't call that a setback. It only further proves that the Lakers' rushing their superstar back onto the court could prove to be detrimental.

Per ESPN's SportsCenter, L.A. is pushing hard to re-sign Kobe and make him a Laker for life, meaning he'll be around awhile:

If Bryant is going to be a Laker for much longer than this season—and all indications point to that—then there's no way they'll compromise his availability for future seasons over a campaign that's unlikely to end in a title for L.A., regardless of Kobe's return.

The Lakers aren't great without Bryant, but they aren't awful, either. With Pau Gasol and Steve Nash seemingly healthy to start the campaign—along with contributors like Steve Blake, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill—they should be able to stay afloat for a couple of months.

Yet, it's awfully tough to imagine this supporting cast helping Bryant—just off of an injury—enough to contend for a title. 

It's much more realistic to see the Lakers contending in 2014 and beyond, after Jim Buss and the team's front office execs go after pri...

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