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Kobe Bryant on if he’ll be ready to roll come September: ‘Yeah, that’s the plan’

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Kobe Bryant, fresh off surgery Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that ended his season — which he jokingly blamed on passing too much — said the “plan” at the moment is for him to be good to go for training camp in September as he eyes a return for a 20th NBA season.

The Los Angeles Lakers veteran superstar indicated his shoulder is “[s]ore, but okay” during a stop at Staples Center Thursday in part to pay a visit to former teammate Pau Gasol, whose Chicago Bulls were in town and who received a hero’s welcome from Lakers fans.

Bryant met with Gasol privately before the game but didn’t step out onto the floor at any time because he still wasn’t feeling great.

Speaking briefly with reporters, Bryant said the upcoming rehab will require “a lot of patience,” as it is expected it will take him at least nine months to make a full recovery from a third-straight season-ending injury.

“I don’t really listen much to what people have to say, to be honest with you,” Bryant said, via ESPN Los Angeles, who added the opinions of others will not have any effect on his decision to either retire or attempt on more go-round.

The soon-to-be 37-year-old Bryant is due $25 million next season, the last year of his contract, and everything involving his rehab and recovery will have to go seamlessly for him to be ready for the 2015-16 season, if that’s what he decides is the wisest course of action. A betting man would be wise to count on Bryant’s return to the court for at least one more season. His competitive fire burns way too hot for him to allow his career to end on such a sour note.

(photo credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)