Kobe Bryant returns from Germany

Updated: October 9, 2013, 11:47 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ONTARIO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant returned to the team Tuesday after traveling to Germany to undergo the platelet-rich plasma treatment known as Orthokine on his right knee.

Bryant walked off the team bus and into Citizens Business Bank Arena on his own power and without any visible limp.

Bryant Obviously I feel like I'm ahead of schedule. It's just about trying to get that range of motion back where I feel like I can run comfortably.

-- Kobe Bryant

"He said it went great and it feels good," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Bryant, 35, is still recovering from surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon. There is no firm timetable for his return, but he has been able to do some light jogging and set shooting during the first week of training camp.

"Just keep grinding. Keep working hard and getting better," Bryant said of his Achilles rehab Tuesday in a courtside interview with Time Warner Cable during the Lakers' 90-88 preseason win over the Denver Nuggets. "I gotta get in shape, too. I've been sitting on my butt now for a while. I gotta get up and get moving."

He previously said it's too soon to know whether it will be possible to play by the Lakers' season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 29 but that he's trying to get back as soon as possible.

"Overall, I feel good," said Bryant, who watched Tuesday's exhibition from the bench. "Obviously, I feel like I'm ahead of schedule. It's just about trying to get that range of motion back where I feel like I can run comfortably. The last stage is really the explosiveness and the muscle endurance."

D'Antoni said he had no idea whether Bryant would be ready for the season opener.

"Obviously, as you get closer, it gets tougher. But he's doing everything he can to get back as quick as he can. I just don't know when that is," D'Antoni said.

The procedure on Bryant's knee was unrelated to his recovery from the Achilles injury. It was described by sources close to the situation as more of a "tuneup" for his knee, rather than treatment for a new injury.

"It's always great to have him back," Pau Gasol said after the game. "I'm glad he got everything done before the season. It's always great to have him present around the team, even if he can't play at this point. His presence always makes a big difference. We talk about things we see out there and things we can explore and run together. We're communicating and thinking ahead and are on the same page."

Bryant traveled to Germany twice in 2011 -- once in the summer and once in the fall -- to undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy on his left ankle and right knee. While this wasn't Bryant's first time, he said getting such treatment is far from routine.

"I do it every now and then," Bryant said. "But this year I haven't had a chance to run, so I don't know how the knee is going to hold up. I don't know if it's going to be sore or what. So instead of taking that chance in the middle of the season, I went to Germany now."

"I'm just making sure I take care of everything," he said. "I haven't had this much time off in a long time, so when I come back I want to make sure that I'm 100 percent."

Bryant's procedure involved removing blood from the affected area and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that cause inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area.

Bryant had planned to return to Germany in the summer of 2012 for the same procedure on his right knee but decided against it. He won a gold medal while playing for Team USA that summer in London.

"No," Bryant said during training camp last year when asked whether he again visited Dr. Peter Wehling, who is responsible for the innovative blood-manipulation technique. "I was a little busy."

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