Kobe Bryant sidelined with torn rotator cuff; may be out for the season
The last three years have not been kind to Kobe Bryant. In 2013 a torn Achilles’ tendon ended his season in April and a broken bone benched him last year. Bryant either suffered a tear during Wednesday night’s game against New Orleans, or aggravated a problem he has been dealing with since pre-season. With 4:14 left in the third quarter, Bryant went up for a two-handed dunk.
“It felt fine when I went up, didn't feel too good when I came down," Bryant told ESPN after the game.
Bryant checked out of the game after grabbing his shoulder, but returned with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. After his return, he favored his left arm and shoulder and it was obvious that there was a significant problem.
Bryant met with team doctor Steven Lombardo from discountrue on Friday. Lombardo found a significant tear in the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Bryant is taking the weekend to decide whether to have the season ending surgery. It should be announced on Monday. Bryant has been limited in play time since becoming a part-time player in December. He has sat out of eight of the last 16 games and been limited to playing only 32 minutes per game.
“I don't know if the wear and tear of playing so many minutes early is a result of what's happened to him right now,” Laker’s coach Byron Scott told the LA Times. “I thought about that. It made me almost sick. I even apologized to him in a text. His response was, ‘No, that wasn't it.’”
The loss of Bryant will not make that big of a difference to the 12-32 Lakers. There is little chance that the team will make the playoffs, Bryant’s play has been off this season, as well. He has had a career-worst 37.2 percent shooting accuracy.
An informal LA Times poll showed that 75 percent of the 3,000 people who responded thought that Bryant should retire. At 36-years old, he has been playing professional basketball for 19 years.