On Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Kobe Bryant had surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff and will officially be out for at least the next nine months. The question is, does Bryant believe that his career may be over?
This is his third straight season-ending injury and if this timetable is met, Bryant would be back to playing basketball before the start of the 2015-16 season.
And according to the Lakers, they do not believe that Bryant’s career is over. They expect him to be back out on the court this fall.
Wednesday’s surgery was performed by Neal ElAttrache and Steve Lombardo in Los Angeles at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. In a statement released by ElAttrache, it read, “I expect Kobe to make a full recovery, and if all goes as expected, he should be ready for the start of the season.”
Photo source: Instagram
The Lakers officially announced that Bryant will be out for the remainder of the 2014-15 season and they confirmed the recovery time of nine months but they also confirmed that he won’t retire and will attempt to come back and play in his 20th NBA season.
“In my mind right now, he’s coming back next year, unless he tells me something different,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott during practice on Wednesday.
Scott was asked about Bryant’s rehabilitation and said, “It’s pretty painful from what I’ve heard, and the rehab is long.”
Bryant, who will turn 37 years old this summer, is the NBA’s highest player earning $23.5 million this season and will earn $25 million next year.
“But I think the biggest thing with Kobe, as long as [the media are] saying that he’s done, he’s going to come back,” Scott said. “I think he proved his point this year that he still has a lot left in the tank. He’s still one of the best players in the league.”
Bryant suffered the injury during a game last week at New Orleans when he hurt his right shoulder while dunking. On Monday, Bryant officially decided to have the surgery.
On Tuesday night, Bryant said in a post on The Players’ Tribune, “I feel like I just returned a 100 yard kickoff in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl to win it all only to have my run called back by a flag on the play.”
Kobe Bryant joins veteran Steve Nash, first-round pick Julius Randle and swingman Xavier Henry as one of four Lakers who are already out for the season with injuries.