Will Kobe Bryant Return For Los Angeles Lakers' Season Opener?

By Ian Meredith
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At the Los Angeles Lakers‘ practices, Kobe Bryant has been spotted shooting standing shots and doing some light jogging, proving once again he is far ahead of the normal timetable for recovering from a torn Achilles.

But patience is key, and patience is something the Lakers do not have. Bryant has clearly been a warrior throughout his career — playing through multiple wrist, shoulder and hand injuries — and he will continue to do so. Yet, the Lakers are obviously in a rebuilding year heading into the star-studded 2014 free agency period, and there is no need for the superstar to rush back.

The Black Mamba needs to spend the time to allow the repaired Achilles to heal properly so he can attempt to lead the Lakers to another championship before his looming retirement just a few short years away. A gimpy Bryant is no good to a rebuilt 2014-15 Lakers squad.

Bryant has very little chance of suiting up for any sort of preseason game, and his status for opening night will become clearer as the season-opening Oct 29 showdown with the cross-town rival Los Angeles Clippers looms closer.

The NBA season is a grueling 82 games, and while there is no doubt that a less-than-100 percent Bryant could help the Lakers win some games early this year, there is no need to rush when this season is clearly not going to bring a Finals run.

The team should allow Bryant’s Achilles to heal, force him to rest, enjoy their 2014 draft picks and spend that money during the 2014 free agency on acquiring another star-studded team. The worst-case scenario would be for him to rush back from the injury and then manage to re-aggravate the injury or re-injure himself.

2013 may not be the prettiest of years to be a Lakers fan, but the Lake Show is only one short year away from returning to its winning ways.

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