Lakers Can’t Afford to Ask Kobe Bryant to Play Savior Immediately

As positive progress reports continue to surface, Kobe Bryant's return to the NBA hardwood gets closer by the second.

But the days of putting the Los Angeles Lakers on his shoulders are well off in the distance. Or, they should be at least.

Bryant hasn't logged a minute of game time since a torn Achilles ended his 2012-13 campaign April 12. His rehab has been an arduous process, a series of tests gauging both his physical and mental strengths.

Those tests are far from over. And they're no longer his alone.

Getting Bryant back on the court is just one part of this battle. The road that now lies ahead is littered with potential pitfalls standing between Bryant, the Lakers and that purple and gold light at the end of the tunnel Bryant has worked so relentlessly hard to reach.


The Kobe Bryant Balancing Act

There is no common standard by which to measure Bryant. Most people can't even dream about the things he does, let alone actually go out and do them.

So, when Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni mentioned that "there probably will be something" along the lines of a minutes restriction whenever Bryant returns, via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the words came with a grain of salt.

Remember the last time Bryant's minutes and D'Antoni were mentioned in the same sentence? When everyone rushed to blame the coach for Mamba's injury after D'Antoni allotted him 45.6 minutes a night over his last seven games of 2012-13?

Remember Bryant's response?

"Mike [D'Antoni] is really going to tell me when to go in and out of the game?" a laughing Bryant said at his exit interview, via Bresnahan.

Bryant's simply a different beast. The kind that scrapes off eight months of rust with a cringe-worthy yet inspiring slam during a meaningless practice session.

He's been out to prove doubters wrong sinc...

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