LOS ANGELES: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has been medically cleared for all basketball activities when the Los Angeles Lakers open training camp this month, US media reported on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Bryant, who suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder in January, appears to be right on schedule in his recovery from a third straight season-ending injury.
His original prognosis called for a nine-month recovery after surgery.
ESPN.com and Bleacher Report cited league sources in reporting Bryant had been cleared to play.
The 37-year-old is entering his 20th NBA season, but it’s been some time since he completed a campaign.
An Achilles tendon injury cut short his 2012-13 season, and a knee injury ended his 2013-14 campaign.
Since he was granted a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension by the Lakers in 2013, he has played only 41 games.
But the Lakers insist they don’t regret a deal that will pay Bryant a league-leading $25 million this season, with club president Jim Buss saying in August that the aging superstar “deserves the money.”
Bryant has said he’ll decide after this season if he’s ready to retire, with Buss suggesting in August that the Lakers would be prepared to keep him on.
“It’s his decision,” Buss said, although he acknowledged that Bryant might have to accept a reduced role.
Bryant has played for the Lakers his entire NBA career, winning titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
The 17-time All-Star is a two-time NBA scoring champion, and also a two-time Olympic champion with the United States.