The Los Angeles Lakers superstar took to Instagram on Sunday, June 30 to allow the world a glimpse of him taking a shot at the free-throw line in practice. Along with the date, the Black Mamba left a short and simple message: #showUagain.
"It's feeling really strong. I can walk without a limp … I can go up the stairs and just stand on my toe, which shows a lot of strength in the tendon," Bryant said in a recent sit-down with Lakers.com.
Stated Bryant, when asked if he still plans on a November or December return to court:
Absolutely. It really just depends on the tendon. When the doctor takes the Governor off me, so to speak, and says that the tendon is where we need it to be and that it's not a concern to overstretch it, that means it's on me. That means it's strengthening the calf muscle, getting in shape … I can handle that.
At the age of 34, with 17 seasons of NBA experience under his belt, it seems Bryant is attempting to prove to the doubters and naysayers that he is capable of not only coming back from a major setback, but also thriving upon his recovery.
Earlier in June, Bryant told ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin that he is hoping to make his triumphant return for the season opener. With this latest Instagram post, it seems that the Mamba is well on his way to hitting that target.
The image is further confirmation of Kobe’s latest status update on Twitter.
After congratulating the Miami Heat on their finals victory and former teammate/assistant coach Brian Shaw for landing the Denver Nuggets head coaching gig, the veteran guard informed fans that his Achilles' is “VERY strong" and used the hashtag “#6obssession” in reference to his pursuit of a sixth championship:
Considering the initial projection for his recovery was six months and surgery occurred in mid-April, Bryant should be able to get on the floor by the time the Lakers tip off the 2013-14 campaign in late October—especially in light of his recent updates.
It will be interesting to see how Bryant performs and how his supporting cast in Los Angeles looks upon his return to the court.
As of right now, the No. 1 goal for L.A. is to sign superstar center Dwight Howard to a long-term extension. But regardless of who is on the team, the Lakers seemingly always have a chance and should be in the hunt as long as the Mamba can return to form and stay healthy come the 2014 playoffs.