Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Kobe Bryant still has a long rehab ahead after tearing his Achilles' tendon, but he's rapidly improving over the off-season.
"It's feeling really strong," said Bryant on Friday in a video interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. "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 was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery the following day, sidelining him for approximately six to nine months.
While the Lakers guard has said he'd like to return by opening night at the end of October, it could be November or December before he's ready to play.
"It really just depends on the tendon," he said.
Bryant gave an account of the kind of work he's doing day-to-day while recuperating.
"Immediately after this, I'll jump into a form of contract therapy -- which is doing cold and then hot, cold and then hot -- to try and pump out some of the swelling," he said. "Then [team physical therapist] Judy [Seto] will do some manual therapy to try and push out some more of the inflammation, some modalities. Then I'll get into the strengthening part, making sure I do some patterns, some single-leg balance work and then walking on the Alter G [weight-bearing treadmill] for a little bit."
The Lakers are waiting to see if free-agent center Dwight Howard returns for another year, but the biggest question about next season may be how Bryant rebounds from the injury.
"I can adjust my game. That's why I can play through injuries, swollen ankles or a loss of speed," said Bryant. "You just adjust. I don't think it's reinventing the wheel or anything like that. If you have to play a slower game, you play a slower game. If you have to post up more, you post up more. If the explosiveness and speed is there, then it's there and you use it in moderation."
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.