It appears Bryant looks just fine, even if Father time (34 years) and basketball mileage (17th season) continues to catch up. Bryant apparently remains in such great condition that he revealed after Tuesday's practice that he declined to have Regenokine surgery on his right knee for the second consecutive offseason.
"No," said Bryant, who spent most of his summer winning his second gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. "A little busy."
So does this mean Bryant may have the operation rather soon?
"What?," Bryant said amusingly. "I'm going to fly to Germany during the season?"
Or perhaps Dr. Peter Wehling, the doctor treated Bryant last year with the innovative blood manipulation procedure, could fly over to Los Angeles.
"Nah, I'll be fine," Bryant said.
Bryant's non-treatment on his knee is hardly trivial. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told the Lakers' official team website in June that Bryant would visit Dr. Wehling at some point this offseason. Either way, Bryant hardly sounded worried on how an Olympic run would affect his endurance level in the upcoming NBA season.
"Sometimes it's harder if you have the summer off," he said. "You get out of shape and then it takes more toll on your body to actually get back in shape as opposed to never really being out of shape and you kind of pick right up and you're already at that level, so it's actually a little less strenuous."
But this doesn't mean Bryant will go full throttle this season. After Bryant averaged 38.5 minutes last season, Lakers Coach Mike Brown remained noncommital on the exact playing time he'd outline for him this season. But Brown maintained he wanted the number to decrease.
"If I can, I'd definitely love to keep his minutes down and not have them up to 38," Brown said. "But I'm sure he'll tell you he can play 48, which is probably true if he needed to. But we feel like we have a deep team this year and hopefully at the end of the day it leads to reduced minutes for him."
That rarely played out last season. After Shannon Brown left to Phoenix via free agency, the Lakers lacked a definitive backup shooting guard. The Lakers believed Andrew Goudelock's outside shooting hardly made up for his poor defense and subpar play-making. Sharp shooter Jodie Meeks could solve that problem considering he's shot 37.1% from three-point range in his first three NBA seasons before signing with the Lakers in August.
"It's always a goal to have good players rest as much as possible for the season and be as fresh as possible for the postseason," Bryant said. "We'll see. I'm ready either way."
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