Kobe Bryant believes he is close to rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers.
The All-Star guard, who tore his left Achilles tendon in April, said Tuesday that he hopes to be back in action before the end of November.
Speaking after his second full practice with the team in El Segundo, Calif., Bryant said, "I'm pleasantly surprised how I'm moving. It's always different once you get out there and start playing. Taking it piece-by-piece, day-by-day. Today was a pretty good start."
Asked whether he is making accommodations for his left foot, Bryant said, "I wouldn't say limitations. I think there are still areas that need to be stronger in terms of jumping, being able to plant quickly, change directions and things like that. Those are areas you just need to get stronger, but I can adjust my game and play at a pretty high level right now."
Coach Mike D'Antoni added, "He hasn't played since April but he looks pretty good. I don't know why that surprises me, but it does. He was up and down pretty good. A little rusty here and there, but good."
The Lakers are off to a 5-7 start without Bryant. Their other veteran guard, Steve Nash, is also sidelined, as he is dealing with nerve root irritation in his back.
Bryant acknowledged the importance of returning as soon as possible.
"My responsibility is to make life easier for my teammates," he said. "That's really been my job. That's (center) Pau (Gasol's) job. To command double-teams, to command defenses where you can get your guys open looks and high-percentage opportunities. If I can step on the floor and do that, that's an accomplishment.
The Lakers have five games remaining in November, finishing with a road trip that will include games against the Washington Wizards (Nov. 26), Brooklyn Nets (Nov. 27) and Detroit Pistons (Nov. 29).