By Shelby Hancock |Staff Writer|
In their game on Wednesday Jan. 21, against the New Orleans Pelicans, Bryant tore his rotator cuff according to ESPN reporter Baxter Holmes.
Bryant, 36, was forced to play the game left handed, ending in a 96-80 loss for the Lakers.
In his 19 seasons Bryant averaged a 25.4 points per game.
This season Bryant averaged 22.3 points per game according to ESPN.
This season Bryant played in 35 games and shot 37.5 percent, far below his career mark of 45.4 percent according to the LA Times.
Many coaches started to realize Bryant wasn’t playing to his full potential.
“Kobe’s a great player, but I’ve seen other great players. When your time’s up, your time’s up man, Its too bad, but it happens to everybody,” Houston Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale said.
“I don’t know if the wear and tear of playing so many minutes early is a result of what’s happening to him right now,”said Laker Head Coach Byron Scott.
Allegations have been made that the Laker organization neglected Bryant thus resulting in his injury according to ESPN.
Scott does remember Bryant saying that his shoulder was bothering him in practice about a month ago according to ESPN.
When Scott asked Bryant about it, Bryant said he was okay and then nothing else was discussed regarding the issue.
Bryant doesn’t seem worried about his injury.
“I’ve played on a torn labrum before,” he continued, “I’m not too concerned about it,” said Bryant.
Bryant has played on many injuries in his 19 seasons.
This is the third seasons Bryant has suffered a season-ending injury according to ESPN.
Bryant decided Monday Jan. 26, to move forward and have surgery to repair his rotator cuff on Wednesday Jan. 28, 2015.
The surgery will result in Bryant’s season being over according to CBS.
Bryant is expected to miss nine months according to yahoo sports.
Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak said that Kobe Bryant will be ready for training camp next season according to yahoo sports.
Along with McHale, many believe Bryant’s NBA time is coming to a permanent end.
“Kobe Bryant’s shoulder injury plays out, it’s clear that he is fast approaching the end of his storied NBA career,” said NBA reporter Sekou Smith.
“It’s time for Kobe to start making preparations for a graceful exit from this game,” said Smith.
Bryant reflected on the time he has left playing basketball.
“I’m not going to be here much longer, so the games that I play, I want to make sure that I’m playing and enjoying it and appreciating it” said Bryant.
With one year left on his contract, many believe this upcoming season will be Bryant’s last according to the LA Times.