Who Must Make Bigger Adjustment When Kobe Bryant Returns, Lakers or Black Mamba?

Friday looms as the possible day of the return of Kobe Bryant, raising inevitable questions such as who needs to make the bigger adjustment—the Los Angeles Lakers or the Black Mamba?

Like so many other debates about Bryant’s return, this one has no perfectly correct answer.

While there isn’t a one-adjustment-fixes-all solution, there is ample reason to put the largest portion squarely on Bryant’s plate.

The first priority is adapting to his own body after Achilles surgery. This is the most obvious and crucial part of the equation. It determines on-court effectiveness, health and longevity.

Bryant recently signed on for two more seasons after this current one. If he’s going to make it to the end of his 20th year in the league, it will need to be with the acceptance of the body’s natural aging process as well as a recognition of how his repaired ankle could affect the rest of his body.

After Bryant’s surgery, Dr. Neal ElAttrache spoke with Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times about the rehabilitation process and the importance of not rushing back.

Some things you can’t speed up. The biology of the healing tendon is paramount for the first three months. If you try to exceed that and you hurt that healing tendon and stretch it out, it’s not something that you can reverse.

To his credit, Bryant chose a methodical path back, rehabbing religiously, taking minor setbacks in stride and finally participating in full five-on-five practices. Recently, he acknowledged the possibility that his athleticism might not remain the same.

Howard Beck for Bleacher Report brings the story of Bryant’s willingness to embrace more of an earth-bound game if necessary:

“There’s different ways I can go,” Bryant said, striking a reflective tone. “Obviously, the easier of the two would be if I could hav...

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