What’s the Rush in Getting Kobe Bryant Back Early to Middling LA Lakers Team?

Trying to get Kobe Bryant back on the floor as soon as possible is the worst approach he and the Los Angeles Lakers could take.

According to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles, Lakers vice president Jim Buss "would bet a lot of money" that Bryant, who is rehabbing a torn Achilles and is apparently ahead of schedule, would be back in time for the regular season.

"Well, we're in Vegas, and I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason," Buss said during the Lakers-Milwaukee Bucks game at the Las Vegas Summer League. "He's real sharp in taking care of himself and he's not going to rush anything just to get back and prove a point. He's going to come back when he's right. He's a machine. He's inhuman. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season. I can't believe how much he's progressed so far."

Now there's an inherent contradiction in Buss' statement.

It would be petty and detrimental to Bryant's longevity to rush back to prove a point. To overburden a torn Achilles after 1,239 career games is tantamount to asking to badly hurt it again; Bryant is hypercompetitive and has never endured such a serious injury, but he must recognize this.

But if he does see the virtue of resting his tendon—not to mention the rest of his constantly banged-up body—then why go through the inhuman act of returning so soon anyway?

Granted, the initial diagnosis was six-to-nine months on the shelf as of April 14. If Kobe returns just before the regular season, that would be at the short end of that range, but it would technically still be on schedule.

That doesn't make it sensible to shoot for the least amount of time off the court. Kobe and his maniacal work ethic can bring him back in time for the opening game (in hindsight, no one should be surprised by this), but it's still not what's best for him.

Let's remember that...

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