Dwight Howard is the Laker who likes to assign himself comic book superhero nicknames. For a few years, he was in a childish battle with Shaq over who the NBA's real Superman was. Before this season, he rebranded himself as Iron Man, but Kobe Bryant is proving to be L.A.'s real-life Wolverine.
You may know Wolverine as the ageless, cantankerous comic book mutant with the indestructible bones and rapidly-healing body. You could almost use those adjectives to realistically describe Bryant throughout his NBA career and his current expeditious recovery from a torn achilles for an athlete of his advanced age. The Lakers guard has been working with team physical therapist Judy Seto and gave a positive update on his progess to Lakers.com.
Via USA Today:
"It's feeling really strong; I can walk without a limp," Bryant said. "I can go up the stairs and just stand on my toe, which shows a lot of strength in the tendon."
He's battled through a littany of injuries in his NBA career and says he'll continue to rely on his skills to overcome diminished athleticism as he heals and ages.
"You just adjust," Bryant said. "I don't think it's reinventing the wheel or anything like that. If you have to play a slower game, you play a slower game. If you have to post up more, you post up more. If the explosiveness and speed is there, then it's there and you use it in moderation."
He still expects to be back in the lineup by early December, at the latest. And when he's back, there won't be any hesitation or coddling requried.
"That's one thing that you can really count on as long as I'm here," Bryant said. "I'll be out there ready to go, playing at a high level."