It was announced on Friday night that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers still has swelling and pain in his left knee, and will be re-evaluated in another three weeks. Bryant sustained a fracture to that knee on December 17 against the Memphis Grizzlies and was supposed to be only out for six weeks.
Now is the time Lakers’ management needs to step in and make sure their franchise player stays off his feet for good. That means not even thinking about coming back this season, as well as shutting down all workouts and conditioning activities until they give him the final go. The only date that should matter is Training Camp 2014, so it will be absolutely critical that Kobe is back and ready for that period to develop chemistry with presumably an entirely different team.
Anymore setbacks when trying to attempt some kind of comeback this year will be utterly inexcusable and I will blame the organization if they let that transpire. Bryant has hinted at playing more pick-up ball this summer due to not being able to play in many games this season, but even this should be off limits until the end of the summer at the very least. The scary part of all of this is Bryant truly does not know when to stop pushing his body, and it’s fair to bet that once he has a day where he feels healthy, he will start working out again.
It’s up to GM Mitch Kupchak and Head Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti to monitor this situation on a daily basis, as this is uncharted water for Kobe, dealing with a serious long-term injury. This is a guy that is so used to playing through any kind of injury and still figuring out a way to still be effective, you have to believe he still feels that way. The problem is the last two injuries combined with accelerated age are on a completely different level. If all parties involved play this one smart, and stay patient — no doubt we will see Bryant somewhere near his best next season.