Kobe Bryant doesn't have a timeline set on when he'll return… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)
When will Kobe Bryant play again?
Not even he knows.
Bryant still needs at least three weeks of conditioning before returning to the court and he won't even start working off the pounds until he is comfortable jumping, he says.
In other words, he's highly doubtful for the Lakers' season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers. Not that he's worried about a return date.
"I just keep it open right now," he said Wednesday. "I don't know why you guys are so hell-bent on timelines. It's like the most ridiculous thing to me. When I'm ready, I'm ready."
Sidelined since April 12 because of a torn left Achilles' tendon, Bryant has been a spectator in the Lakers' exhibition season. He has gradually increased his treadmill time and done more calf exercises throughout the day to improve Achilles flexibility.
"I'm starting to move a little bit more," he said. "I'm trying to pick up my pace a lot more."
But Bryant says he has "Bambi legs" and needs to strengthen them before his conditioning routine starts.
And when he begins his conditioning, he'll have plenty of work to do.
"Six months of eating whatever the hell I want to eat and not running and stuff like that caught up to me a little bit," he said. "I can do it in about three weeks of rigorous conditioning. … It's just the matter of having the flexibility and the strength to be able to run at high speeds out here on the court or on the track or whatever."
Frustration obviously seeps in from time to time. Bryant tries to curb it.
"It's almost like Groundhog Day. Just roll out of bed, roll out of bed and get to work," Bryant said. "It is a marathon and you've just got to get up and punch the clock every day. You've just got to continue to chip away at it."
Bryant recently came back from an "Orthokine" procedure on his right knee in Germany, but recovery from the knee treatment would not be a determining factor in his return to the court.
He was reluctant to provide many details.
Q: "How was Germany?"
A: "It was cold."
Q: "Why did you go there now?"
A: "I felt like having a vacation."
Bryant had the procedure twice on his knee in 2011 and claimed it was a "big plus" at the time.
He won't see the potential benefits from his latest round of Orthokine until his Achilles feels better. "I'm not where I was the first time I went [in 2011] and had the procedure in terms of being able to run as much," he said. "But I can do some things."
Two big guys
There's usually not much to learn from early exhibitions, but Coach Mike D'Antoni gleaned something: Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman can coexist.
"The two bigs can play together. I didn't know that," D'Antoni said. "I've not traditionally loved two bigs together, but they have nice chemistry and they both are skilled."
Gasol had 14 points and Kaman added 12 as they each made six of 11 shots in the Lakers' exhibition victory Tuesday against Denver.
Two players waived
The Lakers waived centers Dan Gadzuric and Eric Boateng, bringing their roster to 17 players.
Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.