Star guard Kobe Bryant could be recovered from his ruptired Achillies' tendon and back on the floor in time for training camp, Los Angeles Lakers vice president Jim Buss said Thursday.
Buss told NBA TV that Bryant is ahead of schedule in his rehab and recovery.
"Well, we're in Vegas, and I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason," Buss told NBA TV while in Las Vegas to watch Lakers players in the Las Vegas Summer League.
"He's real sharp in taking care of himself and he's not going to rush anything just to get back and prove a point. He's going to come back when he's right. He's a machine. He's inhuman. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season. I can't believe how much he's progressed so far."
Bryant's recovery was projected to take six to nine months after he went down in April and subsequently underwent surgery. A training-camp return would be six months since he suffered the injury.
There also could be more urgency for Bryant to return after the Lakers lost center Dwight Howard in free agency earlier this month to the Houston Rockets.
"When we traded for (Howard), we basically knew we were renting him for a year," Buss told NBA TV. "We were prepared. (Lakers general manager) Mitch (Kupchak) and I, we had quite a few meetings. If he leaves, this is what's going to happen, this is what we're going to do, and if he stays, this is what's going to happen, this is what we're going to do.
"It's not like I didn't want him to stay, but we were very prepared, so it wasn't a shock to our system or the Lakers' fans or the Lakers' organization that if he left, he would put us in a bad spot. We were OK either way, because we prepared for it."