Lakers’ Kobe Bryant learns in Players Tribune video that rotator cuff is “pulled off the bone”

The harsh truth awaited Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers’ star visited with team doctor Steve Lombardo on Friday for a reexamination after an MRI suggested he had a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. As shown in a video Bryant posted on “The Players Tribune,” Lombardo soon delivers some depressing news.

“There are four muscles for your cuff,” Lombardo said to Bryant. “Unlike this previous MRI, and your ultrasound you had a couple of months ago, this is pulled off. Torn, [muscle] No. 3.”

“It’s pulled off the bone?” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak asked off camera.

“Yes,” Lombardo answers.

That means that Bryant would need to have surgery, a procedure that would keep him out for the entire 2014-15 season. Nothing has become official yet. Bryant still plans to visit with Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday before determining his next step. But the news hardly looks promising.

“The thing I can’t tell is how long you’ve had this injury,” Lombardo said.

Neither could Bryant.

Lakers coach Byron Scott revealed that Bryant alerted him about his shoulder about a month and a half ago. But Bryant quickly dismissed the discomfort as something minor. When Bryant aggravated the shoulder in Wednesday’s loss in New Orleans, the Lakers’ star still downplayed the injury and struggled tracing back to when he first felt pain.

Regardless, Bryant is seen in the video above processing the news with a certain stoicism. By the end, Bryant offers an, “OK,” suggesting he understands the circumstances and remains determined to encounter his next challenge.


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