Kobe Bryant made news last week when he began his “offseason” early by heading to Europe while his Los Angeles Lakers teammates were still finishing up their season. But in reality Bryant headed overseas to get a checkup on his injured knee with doctors in Germany he has previously consulted with. The 35-year-old apparently got encouraging news because he began his rigorous offseason training program Monday morning.
Bryant is planning an intense six-month training regimen that got underway with an early-morning workout on Monday. He has been cleared for running and shooting as he’s coming back from a broken bone in his kneecap. He played in just six games during the 2013-14 season after he recovered from an Achilles tendon tear, then injured his knee.
Bryant had been ramping up his activity level for the last few weeks, but apparently got positive feedback while meeting with the German doctors who previous performed platelet-rich plasma treatment on his knees.
Without Bryant and Steve Nash for most of the season, the Lakers limped to a franchise-worst 27-55 record. Head coach Mike D’Antonio could be fired and there’s no guarantee anyone other than Bryant, Nash and Robert Sacre will be back. Those are the only three players the team has under contract for the 2014-15 season.
This offseason the Lakers will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2005 and loads of space under the salary cap to spend if they wish to do so.
The real question is whether or not Bryant can ever return to the kind of player he was before he missed this entire year. Knowing him, you get bet his six-month workout program will be ridiculous and he’ll push himself to the absolute limits of his physical ability. He has two more years on his contract and he will certainly get whatever he can out of his body in that time.