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Kobe admits his knee is nearly bone-on-bone

Jan 7, 2011, 2:32 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

It is hard to judge just how much Kobe Bryant is hurting.

It’s because he doesn’t give in to his body, he just keeps pushing through the pain. He keeps playing, keeps pressing forward and pushing his team with a Terminator like will. He can be slowed by pain, he may miss shots with a broken finger, but he does not stop. Ever.

But Kobe’s right knee — the one he had surgery on this past summer for a third time in his 15 seasons — is bad and that is why he has been sitting out team practices this year, he told Peter Vecsey of the New York Post.

“Because I have very little cartilage under my right knee cap, it’s almost bone on bone…

“You know how competitive and combative I am on the court,” he said. “There’s nothing I like better than to practice. In fact, I like practice more than the games, because I get to go at my teammates hard. That’s when you find out what they’re made of, how much you can push some to get the most out of ’em, and how you have to back off others so you don’t lose ’em…

“So, in order to protect my knee and avoid a situation like last year (where he had to have his knee drained of fluid during the playoffs), we decided before the season to sacrifice the team’s intensity by minimizing wear and tear as much as possible.”

After the ugly string of Lakers games around Christmas, Kobe scrapped that plan and has come back to practice to pick up the intensity. He also has picked up the intensity of therapy on his knee so he can get through all this.

We’ve seen what bone-on-bone knee pain has done to Brandon Roy. It should make Lakers fans — and just fans of basketball — take a step back and really appreciate what Bryant does on the court right now. Because at some point soon he will not be able to push past the knee pain any more, the elevation won’t be quite the same on the jump shot, the explosion heading to the rim will be missing.

Kobe will adjust and still be effective. He already has started to, moving more into the post for his offense. But that will be a slightly different Kobe. We should appreciate the one we have now.

  1. thestudiokida - Jan 7, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Kobe & Michael Jordan are exactly the kind of athlete that we want them to be and sometimes it makes me feel guilty. Jordan is a pathological competitor; we loved him for it on the court but it makes the rest of his life very difficult. And now Kobe…. he’s running his body into the ground for us (really for him). Poor guy. Well, keep it up! Whooo KOBE!!!

  2. lolatraidersfans - Jan 7, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    I remember seeing him at Disneyland Paris right after his rookie season. He was really nobody back then… a 19 year old, unproven kid playing among men. He walked by with another tall black guy and they had several Disneyland staff accompanying them. Nobody followed him for his autograph. Probably almost no one in the park knew who he was that day. He didn’t have a rookie season that told the world he was who he would become in pro basketball. I knew who he was because I’ve been all Lakers since the early 80’s. He has been pure gold to the Lakers over 15 seasons and I will always appreciate his unmatched skill and passion he puts on display for the fans who cheer. I will miss him the way I’ve missed Magic, Worthy, Scott and Kareem. I hope he quits while he has what’s left of his health. He has nothing left to prove to anyone on the basketball court. Thanks for the great memories Kobe.

  3. dolphinatic - Jan 7, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Keep on keepin on Kobe. We love ya for it. Thanks for leading the only team I love (outside of the hurricanes) that have ever delivered for me.

  4. dolphinatic - Jan 7, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    Born in Miami Raised in LA

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