Report: Bryant Still ‘A Few Weeks Away’ From Full-Weight Running, Court Work

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From NBA.com staff reports

Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti has been at his job  since the 1984-85 season, making him maybe the best L.A. source at judging how an injured player is progressing in his rehabilitation. Vitti has been keeping a careful eye on Kobe Bryant as the All-Star shooting guard rehabs following surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered on April 12 vs. Golden State.

Bryant has been active on various forms of social media since the injury, updating fans on his Facebook, Twitter and Vine accounts. In August, he went as far as to say he had ‘shattered’ the recovery timetable.

While Bryant is progressing well, Vitti is tempering the expectations of both Bryant and his legion of fans as training camp nears.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Daily NewsMark Medina, Vitti said the Lakers are continuing a conservative approach in getting Bryant up to speed. The longtime trainer also said that Bryant is already running on a treadmill, though with a contraption that helps support him, and he will be up to running with his full body weight soon:

Kobe Bryant continued rehabbing on his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, the latest involving running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti expects Bryant remains a “few weeks away” before advancing to full-weight bearing running, though he added “there’s no projected date” on whether Bryant could play in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

It all fits the Lakers’ conservative approach in ensuring Bryant doesn’t return from an injury he suffered April 12 before it fully heals.

“He’s doing well and has had no setbacks,” Vitti said Thursday at his trainer’s office at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo in a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. “He’ll be ready when he’s ready. Nobody has a crystal ball on this thing.”

Bryant must first complete full-weight bearing running drills before advancing to on-court basketball activities. Vitti offered no timetable on how long it would take for Bryant to complete each stage, let alone whether he will appear in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

It’s unlikely that Bryant will be available for the start of the Lakers’ training camp on Sept. 28, but his availability for the end of the team’s preseason schedule may still be up for grabs. No matter how Bryant progresses, the Lakers’ training staff has been impressed with his work thus far:

The Lakers training staff, led by Vitti, physical therapist Judy Seto and strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, has concentrated on ensuring Bryant’s tendon heals while also building strength in his legs, knee, back and core.

“He doesn’t have injuries in the rest of his body,” Vitti said of Bryant. “When a guy has been out for a long time, that neuromuscular system shuts down and the nerves don’t fire the muscles in the right pattern in the right way. We have to get this whole thing working again. Think of him as a Ferrari. He’s a machine. If those pistons aren’t firing in the right position and in the right pattern, the timing is off. Other structures can be taking loads that aren’t built for that. The rehab is not directly solely to the Achilles tendon.”

“He’s had a good surgery, good rehab and he’s motivated about it. He’s smart,” Vitti said of Bryant. “You can’t get ahead of the game on this thing, but you can get behind. He never got behind.”

45 Comments

  1. lazaro says:

    I live in san antonio but ima big time lakers fan kobe is a all time player

  2. lazaro says:

    The black mamba will return and get the 6th ring real tawk . . . And come bak better then mj

  3. MrEsPn24 says:

    Kobe Is THÉ GREATEST PLAYER ALL TIME and i believe in the lakers 100%
    The only thing Jordan has over kobe is his lockdown defense and one ring
    U cant argue it

  4. JerryBoo says:

    Laker will be the next champions, I have no doubts

  5. LA-Supporter@Manila says:

    Go Kobe.. Help is on the way.. Next year.. from Lebron, Carmelo and Rajon..

  6. Cash says:

    Kobe needs to retire. His game is washed up and he has no style or flash. Never liked his game. Maybe the injurie willadjust his game to the streetball level where he will recieve some ooh’s and ahhs. I thimk he should sit the year personally. It might help the game.

    P.S.
    You were always overated.

  7. Tasand Jewell says:

    Another Tracey McGrady #TasandJewellfromDetroit

  8. Tony says:

    Datz Da Dude

  9. didn’t kobe initially injured his achilles against Atlanta/Dahntay Jones…not Golden State?

  10. Can’t wait for this selfish guy to retire, kids don’t look up to this shot chucker, 30 shots per game is not to good.

  11. Joshua Vernon, Lakers fan til I die says:

    I really appreciate what Kobe has done to the game, he has inspired me to never give up, you can’t just give 100% you gotta put in 200%.
    I try to model my shooting/fadeway off his which he modeled from MJ I’m a true laker fan but I rather wait for him to come back around December, don’t want him to put an end to his career by rushing injury….. much love respect to one and all, call me crazy but. I think this year’s team is capable of a Cinderella run.

  12. kobe says:

    i got torn achilles #reheb with kobe

  13. pacquiaoverated says:

    just retire getting tired of watching overrated ballhog

  14. serioulsy? says:

    I can’t understand what in the world you’re trying to say with your post. I REALLY hope that English is your second language.

  15. ShavonteBillups says:

    Kobe will be back not to rush any thing but Kobe can cone back from anything that’s what’s makes him at best at war he do if Kobe say he gone be ready trust me he gone be ready can’t compare him to drose because he’s nothing like him it’s a mind thing Kobe been the greatest player that I’ve ever seen in my time not to down Mj I haven’t sent him play I just heard that’s why he not my favorite player but the mamba is coming back n the lakers would be back on top NBA watch out don’t sleep on the lakers they are amazing at what they do Kobe will get his six ring before he go n it’s only a matter of time good luck Kobe bryant get well soon see you when the season start

  16. J says:

    he will prob play season opener

  17. Gillsy says:

    Even if Kobe comes back to play the first game of the season, which I think he wont he should be out till Christmas, cause running with 75% of your weight is a lot different to playing a game. Who is he going to play with except for Pau, Nash is to old and they couldn’t win with Metta and Howard. So how will they win now. Let Kobe come back slow and hope the get some good players in the off season maybe Anthony.

    • Lake Show says:

      Nash is old but he can still play with the rest of them. You didn’t see this man playing soccer a month or so ago which requires more running then basketball. He is in great shape people need to stop writing him off.

  18. 2014OKC says:

    If it’s true that Kobe is not even “running” yet, he is nowhere near ready to play the sesaon opener on the 29th, a month or so away. Kobe, in my opinion, uses social media way too much. So what if i takes him a year to recover? He should want to be in the best health. Lakers aren’t going anywhere, they can wait. I’m not a Laker fan, but I do wish him a speedy recovery. It just won’t be the same Lakers without him, whether they are winning or losing.

  19. purpngold says:

    Kobe’s mentality and dedication is second to none, that’s why there is only one Kobe in the world. He will come back when he knows he is ready to pursue his goal. The world awaits for your return Kobe, but only when you are ready! Lakers will surprise a lot of people this season..

  20. Achilles says:

    Its not called the achilles tendon for nothing. If youve heard of the achilles tendon you know that its called that based on the Achilles himself from the stories of greek. Theres no coming back from it. You cnt compare that to another injury. Its name says it all. The fact that he can come back at all, at his age, and still play (he could still avg 24 ppg at least) is remarkable. Not to take away from other injuries, but its not achilles tendon for nothing.

  21. lakerdave says:

    We have been blessed to have had and continue to have a player like kobe. They just don’t come around very often. Look @ some of the records he has shattered. Records that had
    remained for years.
    Thanks Kobe for leading the Lakers all these years. No words to describe the caliber of player this guy is. Continuing to work as hard as ever, just to get back on to the court. He is the definition of dedication.
    Look for Kobe to come back with a vengence!

  22. Really? says:

    It’s better to be confident than questioning. Every one heals differently Drose was injured came back and got injured again u can’t blame him for being safe u can’t blame his mentality to be scarred a lil especially when u see great could’ve beens like penny, Tmac and grant hill and Brandon Roy. U can’t blame him for wanting to avoid that. Kobe is in a win win 5 rings and that end of his run if it doesn’t work none can question his work ethic the next 2 years might be it for him it’s only makes sense for him to push the timetable

  23. esboa says:

    A torn achilles tendon repair is quite different form knee surgery with reconstructing a ACL…..

    However, Ricky R seemed to have made a much quicker recovery that DRose…

    • LebronFan says:

      again, the severity of how drose ruptured his acl is far more violent than the collision rubio experienced (pretty sure he collided with kobe haha).
      Drose ruptured his acl while coming down from a hop step while trying to explode back up in the air. same injury placement, more severe.

      • Don't give a fuk says:

        As someone who has had their ACL torn twice, your right. The ACL and be ripped through collision but it’s certainly worse when it tears soley off of explosive movement. I tore mi ned the first time off of a cross over, I didnt run into anybody or nothing. Uou cant prepare for something like that, it’s type of injury that can happen to anybody at anytime.

  24. Corey says:

    At least he isn’t pulling a Derrick Rose and waiting for another full year to recover…his mentality is what Rose should have had and what every player should have when such a tragedy happens. A gotta give it to Kobe, I’m not a huge fan of him but his will to help his team this coming year is very motivating

    • OKC says:

      Kobe is at the end of his career and is trying to get a 6th ring, so of course he will be working as hard as possible to get back onto the court as quickly as he can, but to compare this to D Rose and say he should have had this mentality is foolish. Rose will be a franchise player for years and years to come, why risk making a serious injury a recurring issue and a career altering screw up?

    • LebronFan says:

      can’t compare recovery time from torn acl to torn achilles.
      not saying kobes injury is easy to recover from but just look at the way drose hurt himself vs how kobe got injured. rose’s injury was far more violent. and drose is someone who is heavily reliant on his athleticism, thus the long rehab to get his KNEE right, the knee which he needs to perform cuts and jumps that is essential to his game. kobe’s game is no longer as explosive as it was before and his style of play is definitely far different (much smoother) than how rose plans to play for the next 5 years.

    • chalice says:

      Kobe is a true competitor and for that I admire him, however, that may be his downfall. His mentality is a little out of whack with reality (at least what he tells us). For him to come out and say he will be ready for the season opener or anytime for that matter is foolish. These injuries take time and if he comes back too early (very Kobe-esk) he may hurt himself even more and be out longer. I think more players should be like DRose and do what is best for the long-term success of the team and not just one game or even one half-season, This is not a knock against Kobe but a warning for the training staff to monitor him well (which they are) and have him back when he is truely ready, not just when Kobe says he is. In fact, against Golden State in April,because of his mentality IMHO he played too much and if he rested more he may not have had the injury in the first place.

  25. trevor kb 24 says:

    kobe will be kobe … i just think he is one of the best ever sholder to shoulder with other greats and he will be back 110% better and exppect him to have a really good season wont be a surprise to ost of us he will always try to be himself . and i have faith in him as a playaer a person and a team mate and a good face of the laker family including me a true fan.
    i wish you well kb24 and patiently waiting even if you decide to do a derrick rose . i am ready when you are ready thats for you but i am with lakers from the first whistle of training camp. lets go lakers.

    • dan'o says:

      Hoping he’s back when truly ready, whether by opener or following the All Star break. My main concern is regarding the PT’s comments regarding the body’s imbalance when compensating for a weakened part (injury.) Don’t rush, Vino, so we can get the Mamba back

      • omargonzalez921184999 says:

        I have confidence that the all star team of Gary, Judy and Tim D are going to make sure Kobe has his entire body correct before letting him get on the floor. All four of them are the best at what they do! Team Mamba! #mambamentality

      • omargonzalez921184999 says:

        I have confidence that the all star team of Gary, Judy and Tim D are going to make sure Kobe has his entire body correct before letting him get on the floor. All four of them are the best at what they do! #mambamentality

    • LAKERNATION!!! says:

      AMEN!

    • meme says:

      says from the guy who always comments on anything

    • michael foyer says:

      The lakers are still a playoff caliber team with a healthy mid 30’s kobe. Last time i checked mj was near kobes current age when he won a 6th title. That being said laker land wont make it to the western conference finals this year with that depth but a 2nd round is plausable. Look for a retooled thunder team to make it to the western conference finals.

      • Loki says:

        Thunder might drop this year. It’s basically a two star team with a weak supporting cast. Kinda hard to take them seriously when the point guard averages nearly as much rebounds as the center