Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, who both played alongside and coached Kobe Bryant during his time in LA, said Thursday at practice that he doesn't think Kobe Bryant will return for the Lakers' regular season opener, while acknowledging only Bryant knows and that he's not a medical doctor.
"I don't see it happening, but I'm not his doctor, and I'm not his Achilles."
Shaw is close with Bryant, or as close with Bryant as anyone is. Over the weekend, Shaw made similar comments while casting his support for Bryant's chances he'll return.
“I think he'll be out for the season opener,” said Shaw. “I think that's realistic to say. But I believe he'll take off right where he left off when he comes back.”
Bold expectations considering Bryant averaged 27.3 points last season on 46.3 percent shooting, six assists and 5.6 rebounds. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni also said Bryant hasn't returned to Los Angeles yet after leaving for Germany in recent days to have a procedure on his right knee.
“I wouldn't bet against him,” Shaw said of the 35-year-old Bryant. “It's a tough injury to come back from, but there's no doubt in my mind he can do anything he sets his mindset to.”
Bryant's apparently not in a hurry and doesn't seem to understand why everyone else is, either.
“I just keep it all open right now,” Bryant said. “I don't know why you guys are so hell bent on timelines. That's ridiculous. It's entertaining to me. When I'm ready, I'm ready.”
The odds on Bryant making it back for the October 29th opener vs. the Clippers are dropping by the day. He just hasn't made enough progress. So now the question is when he will be back, which is probably not too far after the season opens. Bryant will be back, he'll be back soon. It's just likely won't be first thing when the season begins.