EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Kobe Bryant continued to inch closer to a return, practicing at full speed in five-on-five drills for the first time Tuesday and saying he could see himself returning to game action for the Los Angeles Lakers by the end of the month.
“Yeah, yeah I can,” Bryant said when asked if it was possible he might return in one of the team’s five remaining games in November.
Bryant has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon April 12. While Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni stressed that he’s not back to 100 percent and there are “areas where it still needs to get stronger,” both noted they’ve been “pleasantly surprised” by how well the guard seems to have responded to the escalation in activity since he was cleared to resume all basketball activities Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say ‘limitations,’” Bryant said. “I think there’s areas where it still needs to get stronger in terms of the jumping and being able to plant quickly and change directions and things like that. Those are areas where you just have to get stronger … but I could adjust my game and play at a pretty high level right now.”