Kobe Bryant Says Recovery Is ‘Coming Slowly’; Talks Future Of Lakers

In an interview before Sunday’s All-Star game, Kobe Bryant told reporters that the recovery from his left knee injury is ‘coming slowly’ and that no return date has been set.

When asked if he was concerned that his body was starting to give out on him, Kobe responded, “Of course. Absolutely. That’s part of the excitement of the challenge, that level of uncertainty.”

The uncertainty, not the injury, Kobe says is the biggest challenge that he will need to overcome going forward but is hopeful that he will receive good news fairly soon saying, “I’m optimistic coming out of the break that I will have some improvements once I get back to L.A.”

There has been talk amongst fans and the media as to whether Kobe should sit out the rest of the season.  With Kobe not due to return until March at the earliest, one has to wonder if any additional setbacks will turn that into him missing the rest of the year.   When asked if he would return this season, Kobe was non-committal, only saying, “I just try to focus, keep my blinders on.”

Fans should not worry though.  The little doubt that Kobe mentioned in his comments will surely go away sooner than later.  Kobe on the challenge ahead, “And to have those conversations with yourself and not be intimidated by that and not be succumbing to that is part of the challenge.”

Kobe is one of the fiercest competitors in not just basketball, but in all sports.  If the Black Mamba is able to return to the court this season, that is what he is going to do despite what anyone tells him to do.  

In addition, Kobe also talked briefly about the future of the franchise going forward.

“What we have coming up this offseason with the cap space and what we have ahead of ourselves seems to be right in the Lakers wheelhouse in terms of turning things around pretty quickly,” Bryant said. “We have had summers like this, they have never really faltered. They’ve normally made really sound and excellent decisions that put us right back in contention. So I think this offseason is right in their wheelhouse.”

Does Kobe want input in this summers offseason decisions?

“In all honesty, I don’t want it,” Bryant said, when asked if he expected to have more input in front office decisions this summer. “That’s what they do. I’m not a general manager. I don’t know about scouting players and doing things of that nature, so I’ll let them do their job. They have obviously done a phenomenal job at it for years, so I’m not going to jump in the way. All I ask is if something is going to go down, just let me know about it beforehand so I don’t hear about it on a ticker or something. But that’s about it.”

One of the constant feelings about Kobe is that he a difficult teammate to play with, which has been said about him since the early 2000′s and something he is not oblivious to:

“I’m a difficult person to deal with,” Bryant said. “For people who don’t have the same kind of competitiveness or commitment to winning, then I become an absolute pain in the neck. Because I’m going to drag you into the gym every single day. If you need to be drug in, that’s what I’m going to do.

“But for players that have that level of commitment, it’s very, very, easy,” he said. “And we can wind up enhancing the entire group and elevating them to that type of level. But if we don’t have that commitment, man, I’ll absolutely be very, very tough to get along with. No question about it.”

Johnny is the lead writer and a senior editor for LakerNation.com. He currently attends Cal State University, Fullerton where he is working to earn his print journalism degree and covers sports for the Daily Titan. At the moment, he works for OCVarsity.com (OC Register) and in the past was a freelancer for the Whittier Daily News.