Kobe Bryant’s 19th NBA season appears to be over. The five-time NBA champion was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in his right arm this week and will likely have to shut it down as a result.
Before Kobe went down with the injury, head coach Byron Scott was trying something new with Bryant. Scott let Kobe sit out of practices, take games off for rest and implemented a restriction of 32 minutes per game.
Unfortunately, after the injury was diagnosed, Scott did begin to feel a bit guilty for playing Kobe too many minutes earlier in the season which may have lead to Bryant’s potentially third straight season-ending injury, via Bill Oram of the OC Register:
“I thought about that,” the Lakers coach said. “It made me almost sick.”
Earlier in the season, Bryant came out of the gate firing on all cylinders with the superstar shooting guard proving he still had what it takes to play at an elite level. Kobe was among the league-leaders in scoring and attempted to singlehandedly keep the Los Angeles Lakers in games while playing an enormous amount of minutes for a 36-year-old coming off consecutive season-ending injuries.
Although many believe it may be time for Kobe to walk away, Scott thinks Kobe won’t want to go out this way, via Oram:
“This is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around as far as dealing with injuries and things like that and being able to come back,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done after the Achilles and he came back pretty strong. Knowing him the way I know him, I know he doesn’t want to go out this way.”
At this point in time, the Lakers aren’t really going anywhere this season. The team has won only 12 games thus far and doesn’t appear to turning the corner anytime soon.
With that being said, shutting down Bryant for the season seems to be the smart way to go. Hopefully, for the sake of Bryant’s farewell season and the future of the franchise, the Lakers brass can make something happen this summer to make this team competitive next season.[divide]
Lakers Kobe Bryant Tears Rotator Cuff