When Chris Douglas-Roberts came out earlier this week and said that Kobe Bryant is three months ahead of his rehab schedule, we have to admit that we were skeptical. Three days ahead of schedule? Maybe. But three months seems like a stretch. We're talking about a torn Achilles here, not a sprained ankle. As it turns out, though, CDR might be telling the truth.

According to Lakers vice president Jim Buss, who appeared on NBA TV late yesterday, Kobe is way ahead of schedule. In fact, he's so far ahead of schedule that the Lakers are now predicting that he could be back in time for the NBA preseason.

"We're in Vegas," Buss said from the Las Vegas Summer League, "and I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason. He's real sharp in taking care of himself and he's not going to rush anything just to get back and prove a point. He's going to come back when he's right. He's a machine. He's inhuman. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season. I can't believe how much he's progressed so far."

We still don't see Kobe playing in the preseason. Even if he wasn't coming off a torn Achilles, he would probably be chilling during the preseason. But all indications are that Kobe is going to surprise some people with what he's able to do heading into next season. And that's great news for Lakers, their fans, and the NBA as a whole.

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[via ESPN Los Angeles]