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Kobe Bryant still has soreness, swelling in knee; rest of season in serious jeopardy

Feb 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

At All-Star weekend in New Orleans, Kobe Bryant called his recovery from a knee fracture “a slow process.”

That process has suffered another setback.

Lakers’ doctors examined Kobe on Friday and he continues to have soreness and swelling, so he will be re-evaluated in three weeks, according to the Orange County Register. Until then, no workouts, just more stationary bike (that Kobe admits he’s sick of).

With just 27 games left in the Lakers season it becomes hard to see how Kobe comes back to play before the April 16 end of the season. At the most optimistic end of the spectrum Kobe could be cleared to start working out again in mid-March, and after a few weeks of that he would be able to return for the final handful of games in what has been a disastrous Lakers season. That optimistic scenario has him back for 10 or fewer games at the end of a meaningless season. A season where the Lakers are better off losing and getting a higher draft pick anyway.

Kobe and the Lakers can do the math, they know the situation. Kobe hinted at this speaking to the media in New Orleans, saying he normally didn’t play much pick-up ball in the summer and just focused on his own thing, but that this summer would be different. Why? Presumably because he wouldn’t get in any games this season and there is no substitute for game action.

Kobe has played in just six games this season, missing the first weeks of the season recovering from his torn Achilles suffered at the end of last season. Then less than two full weeks into his comeback, he fractured the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. That has been slow to heal.

All the Lakers will say is that they are not going to rush him back. All Kobe will do is say what he said in New Orleans, that he has to “do what I have to do” and will keep grinding to get back. Of course he will, that’s who he is.

But at this point the math and situation becomes overwhelming and Kobe will have to admit he will not be back until next season. We all realize it. It’s just not time for Kobe to admit it publicly yet.

  1. miamatt - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    That’s rough. I am not a Lakers fan, but the NBA is diminished without Kobe.

  2. billtetley53 - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    You’re right. Had he played more, he would have kept them out of the playoffs AND the lottery. Damn you Kobe!

    • therealhtj - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      This troll again. If you miss the playoffs, you’re in the lottery.

      Do better.

  3. golfrangeman - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Well said miamatt. I’m not a laker or Kobe fan but I to would hate to see a great player go out like this. Hope he gets back and finishes his career the right way.

    • sellahh - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      He’s got what, 48 million reasons to do that?
      And I’m a Laker fan.
      A sad Laker fan.

      • therealhtj - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        48.5 actually, not counting the 30.3 for this season, and he gets that whether he ever suits up again.

      • sellahh - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        I meant not to do that. As in ‘go out like that’.

  4. mnsadsportsfan - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    I do not see the point of him coming back this year.

    • progress2011 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Let’s see….Probably to EARN his money and stop collecting welfare!

      Doing NOTHIN but expecting a paycheck……is Free-Loading !

      How does that equate to EEOC…..ahahahahah!

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        He makes his money whether or not he plays again this season. He already received most of his salary anyway. He negotiated so the Lakers pay the bulk for his paycheck at the beginning of the season. Try harder.

      • mackcarrington - Feb 22, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Kobe is not free-loading. He is INJURED.
        Don’t you think Kobe would play if he could?
        Rehabbing an injured knee is not “doing nothing’.
        I’ll cut you some slack, because it’s obvious that you must be 11 years old Skippy.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        He’s earned far more money for the Lakers and the league than he will ever be paid.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:17 PM

        But Kobe is NOT hurting… combining his basketball salary with endorsements he’s earned so far around half a BILLION dollars…

      • adamsjohn714 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        Eugene, when you look at the value of a win in the NBA, across Kobe’s entire career (and inflating the value of the win for the LA market), he’s been paid about what he’s worth. The 48.5 million coming to him the next two years is basically a giant charity cherry.

    • Professor Fate - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      A) It’s a business and he’s an employee that sells tickets,
      B) “… there is no substitute for game action.” It would be nice if he could show that he can get back into games if for no other reason than to prepare for next season,
      C) Bryant back on the court would help with any recruiting of free agents this summer,
      D) It might shut some of the haters up, though they’d just find something else to bag on about him.

      Any draft, even this supposedly loaded one coming up, is a crap shoot for the most part. The Lakers have traditionally built good teams through trades and free-agent signings for this very reason. When they do pick someone in the draft it’s usually because they’ve maneuvered to get a player that is pretty much a slam-dunk: Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Norm Nixon, Magic Johnson, James Worthy.

      • sellahh - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        A) damn right
        B) umm. whatever
        C) umm. no. if I’m LeBron and the best player in the world I’m not taking a paycut to pay with an overpaid past-his-prime superstar (did I mention I love Lakers and Kobe?)
        same goes for Melo, but I wouldn’t be too sad about that
        D) yes, I’m sure when negotiating a contract Mitch Kupchak said ‘hey, we gotta shut some of the haters up’

      • casualcommenter - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        B and C are probably the most important.

        Pickup games in the offseason and practice scrimmages aren’t comparable to live NBA action, so I suppose it’d be reassuring for Laker fans and potential outside free agents to see him competing successful on an NBA court.

        And Kobe playing a few games in April is very unlikely to affect the Lakers’ draft pick at that point.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        “C) umm. no. if I’m LeBron and the best player in the world I’m not taking a paycut to pay with an overpaid past-his-prime superstar (did I mention I love Lakers and Kobe?)
        same goes for Melo, but I wouldn’t be too sad about that”

        It doesn’t need to be a top end FA for it to be a worthwhile signing. Championship teams aren’t just built with stars, you need depth too. Look at the 09/10 Lakers vs the 08 Lakers, or the 12/13 Heat vs the 11 Heat. The original versions of both those teams had the stars but not the depth.

        Even the depth players the Lakers potentially will sign will want to see what Kobe can do. I don’t think he will end up playing again this season though, unfortunately.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        The business used to be winning championships for the Lakers…

        But, both the organization and Kobe chose money over championships for the next two years…

        The business for them now is simply money, like damn near everyone else…

        Funny, when you make championships your business and you win them as often as the Lakers did under Dr. Buss, you ALSO made a lot of money.

        Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins makes money each and every season from the Marlins…

        I hope the Lakers go back to the business of winning championships when Kobe’s two yr contract is over…

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      @mnsadsportsfan

      You’re right, there is no point for him to come back this year, but as a Kobe fan, I know his time is numbered, so I’ll take as much Kobe as I can before he finishes his last chapter in his storied career. Once he’s gone, he’s gone. There will never be another player like him in LA again.

  5. reesesteel23 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    This was the plan all along….

  6. pfic15 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Good thing they didn’t give him a huge contract extension…..

  7. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Take the year off, get healthy, announce next season is your last, and bask in the glory of every game.

  8. pukpokito - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    Kobe is done.The injuries….body no longer cooperates.Jim Buss made the $48 million call. But it’s over.
    He may try to play but the days of what people want out of Kobe sadly are gone.

  9. rainmaker1982 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    As a Lakers fan, its depressing to watch one of the greatest players of all time going out like this.

  10. ocgunslinger - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Over reacting? He isn’t gone yet, still working on returning.

  11. rcali - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Tough time for Laker fans, although they’ve enjoyed plenty of success. Owners living In the past, team is old, youth is not Laker caliber, Kobe is unfortunately an expensive cheerleader for the next few years, and Magic isn’t walking through that door. Interesting to see how this works out. Maybe Lebron can save the organization?

  12. scbaby2013 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    These have been tough games to watch. Hope lakers get a good draft pick sign some good players and become playoff contenders again

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