MIAMI — Dwyane Wade can literally feel Kobe Bryant’s pain.
The Lakers’ star has spent the past month rehabbing a surgically repaired right shoulder, a process the team estimated will last around nine months. Bryant, of course, has experienced this monotonous trek before, rehabbing for eight months to heal a left Achilles tendon he tore on April, 2013 only to play six games before suffering a season-ending left knee injury.
Wade has traveled that path, too. He missed a combined 16 games this season because of left hamstring issues. Wade also sat out 28 games in the 2013-14 season as the Heat tried to reduce wear on his knees.
“Sometimes you have to get lucky,” Wade said after the Lakers’ 100-94 loss to the Heat on Wednesday at American Airlines Arena. “If you don’t, you have to find ways to get back on the basketball court and be successful. You have to work your tail off. Obviously Kobe is that guy. Everyone knows that. I’m that guy. You just have to if you want to be successful in this league.”
Bryant has adjusted plenty in his 19-year NBA career. Yet, he has suffered three major injuries for three consecutive years. But…..
“Kobe has found ways to be effective after so many years in the league,” Wade said. “So never count him out in bouncing back next year and doing it all over again.”
In his 19th NBA season, Bryant provided some highlights. He eclipsed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant posted two triple doubles. He also recorded a career-high 17 assists in a regular-season game against Cleveland. But Bryant provided some lowlights, too. He averaged 22.3 points albeit on a career-low 37.3-percent shooting. He also lasted only 35 games and sat eight of the last 16 games before aggravating his right shoulder last month in New Orleans.
“It’s unfortunate, man,” Wade said. “I went through surgeries and things before, so I know how hard it is just to get healthy and get back. When something like that happens, it just sucks to see him deal with the injuries he had the last three years. You don’t want to see anyone go through that, especially one of the greatest players to ever play this game.”
Lakers unable to handle Miami Heat in third straight loss
Miami’s Goran Dragic likes “everything” about Heat, but still considering Lakers as free-agent option
Cleveland’s LeBron James sympathetic toward Kobe Bryant’s recent struggles