Per Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, the Black Mamba is going to be re-examined in a few weeks, at which point an updated timetable for his return will be created.
For any player recovering from injury, that’s news. It tells them how far along they are in the process and/or how far away they are from stepping foot on the court again. In Derrick Rose’s case, an appointment of this nature would basically be a means to determine how long before he had disappoint the Chicago Bulls (I’m kidding of course; Rose is the man).
For Kobe, it’s admittedly different, even if only slightly. All we’ve heard and all I’ve written about is how ridiculous his recovery has been. Returning on opening night once seemed like the most chimerical of wishes, but after reading about his progress, it’s difficult to taper expectations.
Most recently, Kobe posted a video to his Instagram of him running on an anti-gravity treadmill. People went crazy because, why wouldn’t they?
Part of me is left wondering just how strenuous a task that is under the circumstances. “Anti-gravity” is a cause for skepticism on my behalf. Still, as a human being, I find it incredible that he’s moving in any sort of forum a mere four months after rupturing his Achilles.
Soon, apparently, his progress will be put to the test. Once he’s been re-evaluated, we should know just how far he’s pushed the bill. Or rather, how effective his bill-pushing has been.
Like all things Kobe, we expect that whatever he has done will work. It’s been that way for nearly two decades; we’re used to it. If anything but good news were to be gleaned from that inevitable appointment, the world as we know it would be turned upside down.
To be sure, I’m not saying Kobe hasn’t faced his fair share of trials and tribulation. In the past, I’ve said the exact opposite. Usually, however, he conquers the obstacles—health, age, Shaquille O’Neal—that are put in his way. It would then be staggering to find out that this particular obstacle, the one he has clearly devoted himself to obliterating, wasn’t cast aside in favor of his superhuman work ethic.
Failure to return on opening night wouldn’t be a failure at all. That was always a long shot (though I still believe he suits up). I’m more talking about him finding out he’ll have to miss a month or more of the season. Typically, that should be expected when dealing with this type of injury. But again, it’s Kobe. The word “setback” isn’t in his vocabulary.
I doubt he’d even accept any answers other than the ones he wants to hear. Were the doctors to tell him he couldn’t play opening night or even a month into the season, it would only make him work that much harder. Like everything else he does, this isn’t going to be half-assed.
Somehow, he’ll figure out how to beat the odds behind his return. As for what happens after, that’s a debate we can’t indulge in just yet.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.