Yesterday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant made it official that he wouldn’t be participating in the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain. That move was expected, considering the significant Achilles injury he’s recovering from. While he won’t be playing in the World Championships, Bryant is aiming to return in time for the start of the regular season. Some are skeptical of his chances, but former teammate Shaquille O’Neal told Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times that he’s “sure Kobe is going to come back early.
"I'm sure Kobe is going to come back early," said Shaquille O'Neal in an interview on Friday. "Anything before nine months is early. Him making the first game, I wish him well. He's a very, very competitive kid. He loves the naysayers. He loves proving people wrong. When he put the rumor out there that he may be back the first game, best believe he's trying to come back the first game," continued O'Neal.
While he expects Bryant back for the season, O’Neal also says that he believes the team will have a difficult campaign after losing Dwight Howard to free agency.
There are varying reports, but to this point Bryant has apparently crushed his rehab. It seems like there’s a good chance he’s able to return early this season, if not for opening night. But the question becomes, will Kobe be able to return at his previous level, or will the injury cause him to become a shell of himself? Only time will tell.