Kobe Bryant reduced his workload and was no longer jogging in the 20-minute bursts that were hailed as progress a week ago.

"I was cranking it up the entire time I was in China. I've scaled back since just to let it heal up a little bit more and get a little more flexibility to it" he said Thursday.

The Lakers said it was normal the equivalent of pushing hard and then tapering off while Bryant recovers from Achilles' tendon surgery in April. The team declined to update his return timetable other than the initial one pegging his comeback between mid-October and mid-January.

It's safe to say Bryant won't be ready for the Lakers' season opener Tuesday against the Clippers.

Bryant also acknowledged tension with Dwight Howard his teammate for one unstable season until Howard bolted for Houston via free agency in July. They had an awkward coexistence never as acrimonious as the one Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal endured but never comfortable either.

"We saw different ways of going about leading this team" Bryant said. "Dwight wanted to do it one way and he felt like it was effective. I wanted to do it another way. It was constant tension the second half of the season."

That the Lakers finished seventh in the Western Conference might have been an accomplishment as silly as it sounded for a team that had championship aspirations several months earlier. Bryant notably credited Pau Gasol not Howard.

"We wanted to make a pretty good run at it and I think Pau stepping in and taking a significant load of the offensive responsibilities and playing defense as well. ... It gave Dwight a lot of easy layups" Bryant said. "Pau got a lot of easy baskets for everybody else. Things just kind of fell in place and we were able to get into the playoffs."