Kobe Bryant says he is ready to make a return to action for the LA Lakers after being declared fit to resume full training, although Mike D'Antoni is still urging patience when it comes to the inclusion of his key player.
The 35-year-old has not played for the Lakers since April when he sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon in a game with Golden State Warriors, and the franchise were forced to begin the 2013/4 NBA season without him.
Without Bryant, the Lakers have posted a 5-7 season so far, and they will be supremely boosted by the news that he is very nearly ready to make his return from the practice court to competitive action.
When asked by reporters if he has undertaken enough training sessions to ensure he can play when asked, Bryant responded: "Yeah, yeah I can."
Bryant could make his first appearance in seven months against Golden State, of all teams, with the Lakers facing the Warriors at the Staples Center on Friday.
But, while D'Antoni appreciates the confidence of Bryant, he does not expect to welcome the shooting guard back for the Lakers' next game.
"Well, nothing is impossible, but that would surprise me – yes," the Lakers coach said when asked about having Bryant available for selection.