Coming into this season, after two consecutive season-ending injuries, many expected Kobe Bryant to take a step back this season. At the age of 36, everyone seemed to be in agreement that Kobe could not keep up his normal workload.
Kobe, however, continues to average over 35 minutes per game this season, and has spoken many times about fatigue affecting him during games. According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, Kobe admitted that he worries of suffering another injury:
There’s always the fear of having another tragic injury. I’m human, just like everybody else, and have those concerns. I try to dedicate as much time as possible to my body and making sure that I’m as loose and ready to go as possible, and try to put those thoughts on the back burner and come out every single night and give it my all the best I can.”
When athletes suffer major injuries, it is usually the mental aspect of returning that lingers longer than the physical setback. Many worry about making the cuts and moves that they used to make for fear of another injury and Kobe is no exception.
No player keeps his body in better condition than Kobe Bryant, but his body is clearly not responding and recovering the way it used to. Byron Scott spoke about the possibility of sitting Kobe out for a game or two, and Bryant said that it could be the right thing to do.
Right now, Kobe’s struggles are hurting the Lakers on the court, but the worst possible scenario is Kobe going down again. Scott must find a way to keep Kobe fresh without hurting the Lakers too much on the court, otherwise both could crumble.[divide]
Lakers Byron Scott On Kobe Bryant’s Fatigue, Nick Young Ejection