Kobe Bryant could be back on the court by the start of preseason.

Jim Buss said Thursday that he’s encouraged by Bryant’s rehabilitation, which recently has included running on an elliptical machine.

“I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason," Buss said during the Lakers-Bucks game at the Las Vegas Summer League. "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."

Bryant previously said he expects to be more aggressive with his conditioning by mid-August, with an assumed goal of returning by the start of training camp.