Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is out to prove his critics wrong this season.
In a Q&A with Yahoo! Sports, Bryant said he’s motivated to return to top form and talks about his return to the court.
Q: Your naysayers don’t expect you to come back the same because of your Achilles injury. What should we expect when you return?
Bryant: “Personally? I’m going to be the way I’ve always been. Maybe a little better. It’s always interesting, it’s motivating to hear people doubt me. The same guys put the nail in my coffin six years ago. They’re still trying.”
Q: How do you find a good medium between your competitiveness and also being cautious in rehabbing?
Bryant: “It’s all in the same bucket. I’m really competitive. To come back at anything less than to play exceptional basketball is not really smart, then I’m not going to be at my top level and that makes the critics right. That [stuff] isn’t going to happen.”
Q: What’s the latest on your Achilles rehabilitation?
Bryant: “This week I’m pushing it again and measuring it and seeing how it does. I pushed it really hard [Monday], and it feels pretty good today. So I will push it again [Tuesday] night then measure it [Wednesday] morning and continue to go from there.”
Q: What do you mean by you will “measure” it?
Bryant: “I’ll push it. I will increase the workload a lot and the next day you see how the ankle joint [feels]. At the end of the day it’s really the ankle joint. The tendon is fine, but the ankle joint from being immobilized so much is naturally stiff. So it’s about breaking through that and increasing that flexibility. If it recovers fine the next day you can push it and keep on going.”
Q: Do you have any wish date to return to action?
Bryant: “I don’t. I don’t. How can I? I don’t even know if I will be able to push it hard tomorrow. I have no idea.”
Q: Would it be safe to say you’ll be back by December?
Bryant: “Dude, I don’t know. I don’t give a [expletive] what people believe. When I’m ready, I will play.”