Kobe BryantRemember three or four years ago, when Kobe Bryant‘s recurrent knee injuries seemed like they may end the five-time NBA champion’s career prematurely? What ever happened to that?

What happened, at least according to Bryant, is platelet-rich plasma therapy, an experimental procedure that was all the rage in 2010 and 2011. Bryant was one of a handful of professional athletes who traveled to Germany to receive the procedure then, and as Bryant embarks on his 18th professional season, he credits that therapy with extending his career.

Now, Bryant believes he is breaking new ground again. In an interview with NBA.com, Bryant says his rehabilitation from Achilles surgery in April is breaking “new territory” and that he has “shattered” the conventional timetable for recovery, possibly putting him on the court in time for training camp. The initial timeline for his recovery was pegged at six to nine months, which would have kept him out as late as January.

“The surgical procedure was different … and because of that, the recovery has been different,” Bryant told NBA.com. “The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months, I can already walk just fine. I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine, and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all.”

Bryant is in China for a summer tour that has become popular with NBA stars lately. Dwight Howard and John Wall recently made a trip, with Wall memorably stating it was the first time he has ever left the U.S. (He has played against the Raptors in Toronto multiple times.)

Bryant, on his eighth tour of the country, backed up his boast about his recovery by walking among throngs of Chinese fans.