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Kobe Bryant says he's progressing steadily in recovery, but still weeks away from return

Kobe Bryant says he's making steady progress in his injury recovery, although the Los Angeles Lakers star is likely still weeks away from a return to the court.

Bryant said before Friday night's game with the San Antonio Spurs that he's running on flat ground and improving the flexibility in his ankle.

Bryant isn't projecting a return date, but has said he would need about three weeks of conditioning work before returning to practice. He thinks this week counts toward that total.

The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history tore his Achilles tendon in April.

Bryant says he's spending his time on the shelf mentoring his young teammates, specifically Nick Young, Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry. Bryant effusively praised Henry, saying he had no idea of Henry's skills while the fourth-year swingman played for New Orleans.