Dec 20, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant didn’t mince words, and neither did Charles Barkley.
“Only an idiot would” doubt his resolve to return, Kobe said.
“Kobe Bryant shouldn’t play anymore this year,” Barkley said.
Kobe is definitely right, and Barkley might be right.
Nobody should even consider that Kobe won’t work as hard as he can to get back on the court as soon as possible, but that’s precisely why Barkley is also on the right track.
It’s possible Kobe is fully healthy and rehabilitated within six weeks, as originally projected. I’m not convinced of that, given Kobe’s age, but it’s possible. If that happens, Kobe should return. There’s no sense of him sitting when he’s capable of playing.
However – and this is a point raised by Barkley – Adrian Peterson has set unrealistic expectations for returning from injury. This shouldn’t be a competition, though it will be to someone as competitive as Kobe. If he rushes back (again?), he’s exposing himself to further injury.
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I wouldn’t go as far as Barkley – “With or without him, the Lakers suck either way” – but this Lakers season hinges less on Kobe than perhaps any other.
If Kobe can get fully healthy for next season, even if that means sitting out the rest of this year, the Lakers will be better off. And if Kobe misses the rest of this season, he might even have a shiny new lottery pick to help him next year.
- Report: Chicago Bulls give Jimmy Butler max qualifying offer 17
- Report: Dwyane Wade will not opt-in with Heat, to become free agent (as expected) 25
- Report: Knicks front runner to land Arron Afflalo (and Greg Monroe, too) 27
- Report: Luol Deng surprises Miami, opts in for 2015-16 season 30
- Report: Sense around league is Kevin Love will re-sign with Cavaliers 31
- Report: As deadline nears, signs still point to Dwyane Wade opting out, becoming free agent 40
- Report: Dallas most likely team to lure DeAndre Jordan from Clippers, Chandler Parsons already recruiting 24
- Report: Lakers would still trade D’Angelo Russell for DeMarcus Cousins straight up. Kings wouldn’t. 30