Kobe Bryant stepped off a flight from Dubai and showed up at the Los Angeles Lakers' training complex in El Segundo, Calif., on Saturday, joining his teammates for the first morning of training camp.
Although Bryant is globetrotting comfortably on his surgically repaired Achilles tendon, he's still uncertain when he'll join the Lakers on their practice court as they begin their return from a hugely disappointing season for the 16-time champion franchise.
"I feel good," Bryant said. "I don't think we have a particular timetable as to where I should be right now, but I'm feeling good."
Kobe is more certain about a few other things: He'll come back strong from his injury, and the Lakers can contend for another title even without Dwight Howard.
"Our expectations are always the same going into every single season," Bryant said. "Improve every single game with the goal in mind of winning the championship. Doesn't matter what anybody else is saying. That's the goal that we have."
After an offseason that began in mid-April when he tore his tendon in a game against Golden State, Bryant likely is still a long way from stepping on the practice court. Yet nobody around the Lakers is willing to predict any timetable for an athlete with almost supernatural recuperative powers.
"My goal is to play tonight, you know what I mean?" Bryant asked. "It's about being smart about it and pacing it the right way and just seeing how it does."
Rose aggressive in first practice back
After a season of breathlessness over the status of Derrick Rose's left knee, it might be time to shift the focus to Gar Forman's heart rate or Tom Thibodeau's salivary glands.
The Bulls' general manager and coach could be forgiven for being overly enthusiastic Saturday following not only Rose's aggressive first practice of training camp but Rose's boldness afterward.
"I've got confidence in my [surgically repaired left] knee," Rose told the Chicago Tribune. "There's no testing anymore. It's going out there and playing hard and attacking."
By all accounts, that's what the former league most valuable player did in the first session Saturday morning.
"He attacked all day, in fact from the start," Thibodeau said. "He made that clear."
Wizards' Porter sits with hip injury
Wizards rookie Otto Porter has a right hip flexor injury. Porter, the No. 3 overall pick, rode a stationary bike as Washington opened camp Saturday at George Mason University.
Coach Randy Wittman said the injury has been bothering Porter for a couple of weeks.
"Nothing major," Porter said, classifying his timetable for returning as "day by day."