For the last four seasons, Kobe Bryant has resembled a warrior. Unlike many other professional basketball players, Kobe has proven his commitment solely to the game and to winning. He is absolutely willing to sacrifice his body for the team and their performance.
Kobe’s actions over the past few years have solidified his leadership abilities and his superstar status. Regarded as one of the best NBA players today and as one of the top elite athletes in the world, Kobe has separated himself from the rest of the pack in recent years by continuously putting off treatment and surgery for his numerous injuries so not too miss any time on the court.
However, there comes a time when your body fights back and demands relief. Kobe has been playing basketball non-stop during the past few years. His offseason play, which includes the 2007 USA FIBA Americas Championship Team in Las Vegas and the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, have added to his status as an international star, but continue to take a toll on his body.
Yet, if Kobe was hurting physically, he is always the last to tell anyone. When he returned to the Lakers after his Olympic gold winning performance in 2008, he led the team to two straight world championships, while taking home two Finals MVP awards as well. However, this past season, Lakers fans began to witness that Kobe’s injuries were getting exceedingly more difficult to play through, especially as 2010-11 progressed.
Kobe’s jumper seemed affected by his ailing knee. He appeared to drive the lane less, which reduced his frequency at the charity stripe. Yet, with Kobe being Kobe, his continual performance remained stellar compared to his competitors on the court.
Recently it was announced that Kobe underwent a type of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy on his right knee about a month ago in Germany. The question of why he chose Germany for this treatment is still unclear. Kobe’s knee injury has arguably been the most detrimental out of all his injuries suffered throughout his career. Therefore, I believe that Lakers fans can anticipate a refreshed Kobe when next season starts.
The PRP therapy is increasing in popularity as an alternative for surgery, especially among professional athletes. The recovery time from PRP therapy is much quicker than surgery and there have been positive testimonials for its results. With the league currently in a lockout, the timing for Kobe to seek treatment for his ailing knee might end up being perfect.
Kobe has the time to rest and truly recover, which is something he hasn’t been able to do for a few years. There have been reports that the same Turkish team who signed Deron Williams to play for them if the lockout continues beyond the start of the 2011-12 NBA season, is interested in offering the same deal to Kobe. Kobe has not remarked on this story, but I believe the chances of this happening are low.
While it is understandable that the majority of NBA players simply want to play basketball, regardless of where they play, this might not be the answer for Kobe. In my opinion, he would benefit more by resting his body, focusing on his recovery and slowly working his way back to participating in drills, workouts and eventually full practices. This way Kobe will be healthy and ready to perform at the highest level whenever the next season of the NBA starts. Kobe at 100 percent healthy gives the Lakers the best chance to reclaim the championship trophy.