Will Kobe Bryant miss the rest of the 2013-14 season?
It’s a possibility.
The Lakers ruled Bryant out for at least another three weeks after an examination with team doctor Steve Lombardo revealed Bryant has persisting pain, soreness and swelling in his fractured left knee. According to the Lakers’ latest timetable, Bryant will sit out for at least 10 more games before being reevaluated. But considering his latest rehab has solely entailed stationary bike work, Bryant will have to advance through basketball drills before returning to the court.
Bryant, 35, has missed all but six games this season where he averaged 13.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 5.7 turnovers in 29.5 minutes per game. Bryant missed the first 19 games while rehabbing his left Achilles tendon. After fracturing his left knee in the Lakers’ win against Memphis on Dec. 12, Bryant has remained sidelined for the past 30 games.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said this week that the team won’t rush Bryant back to return this season.
“We’re hopeful that he can get back on the court at some point and do that,” Kupchak said. “We’re not going to push him to get back. I don’t see why you would. We’ve made a commitment to him for two more years.”
Kupchak was referring to the Lakers granting Bryant a two-year, $48.5 million extension shortly before he rehabbed his left Achilles tendon and returned to the court.
Still, even with the uncertainty surrounding Bryant’s possible return this season, Kupchak stayed firm on how he’ll look next season.
“There’s really no reason why anyone should speculate as to whether or not Kobe can get back next year at a high level,” Kupchak said. “I think the bigger challenge is his age. But he’s shown over the years that he can adjust his game to his age. He’s just changed … Based on what I saw the last week before he injured his knee, I was completely confident that the Achilles injury was going to have no play in his effectiveness.”
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