Lakers expecting Bryant to be ready for training camp

by
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the Los Angeles Lakers will have Kobe Bryant ready to go for training camp.

The superstar veteran has been sidelined since January with torn rotator cuff. At the time of Bryant's injury, the initial prognosis called for a nine-month rehabilitation, which put him on a pace to return sometime close to the start of training camp.

On Friday, Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed to Sam Amick of USA Today that Bryant is on target with the projected timeline.

"My understanding is that he’ll be ready for camp," Kupchak said. "Knowing Kobe, he will try to participate in every practice in camp. But myself and (head coach) Byron (Scott) are going to have something to say about that. So I’m sure there will be a practice or two or three where we won’t let him practice, but I do expect him to be full bore at camp."

Bryant, who has scored the third-most points in NBA history, has been far from his best over his last two seasons. A bevy of injuries have limited the five-time champion to 41 games since the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

His decline has coincided with a sharp downturn in the Lakers' fortunes. After coming off a 27-win campaign in 2013-14, the Lakers posted their worst season in franchise history last year, winning just 21 games.

Still, there is optimism in Lakerland for this year, as the 37-year-old Bryant is hoping to lead a revamped squad back to the postseason. Kupchak added Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, Roy Hibbert, and star rookie D'Angelo Russell over the summer, in hopes of righting the ship.

The Lakers will kick off their preseason with a pair of games against the Utah Jazz in Honolulu on Oct. 4 and 6.