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Kobe Bryant thinks he will play in season opener Oct. 29

Sep 27, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

Kobe prepares to throw a basketball to fans while attending a youth basketball final match in Hong Kong Reuters

We know Kobe Bryant isn’t going to be ready to go at the start of training camp — he has yet to fully run on a treadmill at 100 percent, let alone get on the court and make cuts or do other basketball moves. Team officials dodge the timeline question but are understandably cautious.

Kobe says he thinks he will be ready to go in the Lakers season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

Kobe is in Dubai promoting health and fitness (we brought you some of his quotes from there yesterday) but Mark Medina unearthed an interview where Kobe said he thought he would be ready for opening night.

“Now it’s about cutting the recovery time, I should be OK [for the start of the season],” Bryant said in an interview with The National, a website in Dubai.

We’ll see, he’s coming back from a ruptured Achilles and those can be tricky. The Lakers are trying to get him right and not rush him back, but I’m not about to question the will power, pain tolerance or healing powers of Kobe Bryant.

If the Lakers are going to make the playoffs in a deep Western Conference they have little margin for error — they need Kobe back early and playing well. They need some other things, too (Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to stay healthy, for one) but it kind of all hinges on Kobe.

His confidence in his return and in himself is both expected and good news for Lakers fans.

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