Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season

Jonathan Bachman/AP File PhotoThe team announced Kobe Bryant's surgery Monday

Jonathan Bachman/AP File PhotoThe team announced Kobe Bryant's surgery Monday

EL SEGUNDO — Kobe Bryant will have surgery Wednesday on his torn right rotator cuff, likely ending his 19th season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The team announced Bryant's surgery Monday. He injured his shoulder last week in New Orleans.

The Lakers will announce a timetable for Bryant's recovery after surgery, but coach Byron Scott anticipates losing the third-leading scorer in NBA history for the rest of the year.

“Kobe is probably not going to play” again this season, Scott said.

“We all know how tough he is,” Scott added after Monday's practice. “He's a trooper, so we pray for him that his return will be sooner rather than later.”

Bryant's torn rotator cuff is likely his third straight season-ending injury. He missed the 2013 playoffs with a torn Achilles tendon, and he played just six games last season before breaking a bone near his left knee. His famously resilient body has finally worn down from the accumulated grind of 19 seasons and several lengthy postseasons with the Lakers, including five NBA title runs.

After returning at nearly full strength in training camp, Bryant sat out eight games in the last month and played on a strict minutes limit to rest his 36-year-old body. He still dealt with assorted aches and setbacks before he injured his shoulder while dunking against the Pelicans.

The Lakers reacted to the news with disappointment and respect for Bryant, who was selected to the All-Star game for the 17th time last week. Bryant is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season.

“Kobe is a warrior,” Lakers forward Carlos Boozer said. “He's strong, and he's going to attack rehab like he always has.”

The Lakers also discouraged speculation that Bryant's career might be over. He is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season, and he is under contract for $25 million next year.

“I think he's done everything that you can possibly do in this league, and I think at times, we don't appreciate all the stuff that he's been able to accomplish,” Scott said. “I don't think we appreciate how tough he is, all the injuries and other things that he's played with, to be able to come back the way that he's come back. I don't see Kobe as the type of guy that wants to leave his legacy on (these) terms. I think he wants to go out on his own terms. We'll just have to wait and see.”

The Lakers (12-33) are in the midst of another aimless season, losing eight straight heading into Tuesday's visit from Washington. The 16-time NBA champion franchise is almost certain to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.

The Lakers also owe a first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns to complete their disastrous trade for Steve Nash, who played just 50 games in three years and never suited up this season. But Los Angeles will keep the pick this summer if it lands in the top five, providing ample incentive for fans to hope the Lakers' collapse is total.

Bryant wasn't at the Lakers' training complex Monday, and he didn't attend their loss to Houston on Sunday night. Scott plans to speak with Bryant throughout the week to see what he's thinking about his future, but he hopes Bryant isn't ready to quit.

“With the Achilles last year, everybody said he was done,” Scott said. “He came back and I think the first month of the season, he proved to everybody that he still has a lot left in the tank. I think he still has that hunger and that competitive nature to come out and prove it again. After the surgery, I'll talk to him and see how it is. We'll talk and we'll go from there.”

Golden State WarriorsKobe BryantLos Angeles Lakers

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Health care workers in the intensive care unit at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, with Alejandro Balderas, a 44-year-old patient who later died. Even in California, a state with a coronavirus vaccination rate well above average, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
Why COVID took off in California, again

‘The good news is: The vaccines are working’

Lake Oroville stood at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
A kayaker on the water at Lake Oroville, which stands at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Oroville, Calif. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
Facing ‘dire water shortages,’ California bans Delta pumping

By Rachel Becker CalMatters In an aggressive move to address “immediate and… Continue reading

Students practice identifying species in the school garden at Verde Elementary in Richmond during summer camp. (Photo courtesy of Verde Elementary)
Reading, writing and bike riding: How schools spent summer helping students recover from pandemic

By Sydney Johnson EdSource Bicycles typically aren’t allowed on the blacktop at… Continue reading

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission launched a pilot program that offers up to 90 percent discounts on water and sewer bills for eligible customers. (Andri Tambunan/Special to ProPublica)
How does 90% off your water bill sound? Here’s who qualifies

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced this week it is launching… Continue reading

Most Read