There was a time in Kobe's career when you'd always bet the under on Kobe injury comebacks, but the fact that he didn't rush into a uniform on opening night shows that he's giving this serious injury at this stage of his career the proper respect. Is it too soon? Can he return to his Black Mamba form? How will his comeback impact the Lakers in the playoff chase? Let's explore the possibilities. A. Kobe knows best. B. Kobe needs to take it slow. J.A. You'll notice that we're closer to the back end of the six-to-nine-month timetable that was initially given for Kobe's return ... about eight months ago. Most players return from severe injuries at the first moment they can make a reasonable case there won't be a setback, but that doesn't mean the healing process is anywhere close to being over.