Kobe Bryant suffered a torn Achilles in April and as expected has not played yet this season.  Of course without their superstar player the Lakers are off to a slow start with a 4-7 record and 12th in the Western Conference.  What wasn’t expected by many is how fast Bryant is recovering after surgery and extensive rehab.  In fact the Black Mamba said if there was a playoff game tonight, he’d play.

Shay Marie

via  Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

“I feel like I’m ahead of schedule,” Bryant told former teammate Rick Fox in an interview for NBA TV on Friday. “If there was a playoff game tonight, I’d play. I’d play. I don’t know how effective I’d be, but I would play.

“The fadeaway still works, the ballhandling, being able to post. Those are things that I can do right now. But it’s not the playoffs, thank god.”

Bryant has been back on the practice court going through shooting drills during the past week, according to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. The attempts have been more of the game-ready, jump-shot variety than the modified set shooting that Bryant was already able to do during training camp.

There’s still no date for Bryant’s return but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were sometime soon.  By no means is he at 100% yet and it’s still very early in the season.  There’s no need for him to rush back but it’ll be interesting to see if his return can get the Lakers to a winning record or maybe even the playoffs.  I know it sounds like a stretch but we all doubted him the last time he made a guarantee and you saw what happened there.  On the otherhand, we’ll have to see how the torn Achilles’ affects his game, especially since he’s older and there’s wear and tear on his body.  Still never count out the Black Mamba.