HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – As if Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world weren’t nervous enough, now comes word, per The Los Angeles Times, that Kobe Bryant has left the country for an undisclosed medical procedure and will return in a few days.
In the absence of details, which at this time are sketchy at best, people will be left to their own imaginations to figure out what is going on. But the good news for Bryant and the Lakers is that whatever the procedure is, it has nothing to do with the Achilles injury he is recovering from.
For this news to drop a day after Bryant was on the court shooting at training camp makes you wonder what exactly is going on. Is it his knee again? Or the ankle? Did he head to Germany for another Orthokine procedure that he’s had done on both the knee and ankle in the past?
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told The Times that the procedure is “no big deal,” and that since Bryant wasn’t close to seeing full action in camp that his absence doesn’t disrupt anything:
“He knew he had time because he’s not getting on the court yet,” D’Antoni said Thursday. “I don’t think it caught anybody by surprise. Instead of doing it in August, he’s doing it now. There’s no concern whatsoever.”
D’Antoni’s words will reassure some. But with the Derrick Rose injury saga from last season fresh on people’s minds, not to mention the news from earlier in the week about the second surgery Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook needed for the torn meniscus in his right knee (which will keep him out of action for 4-to-6 weeks), a little nervousness is warranted.
The Lakers don’t have any room for error this season. Getting Kobe back sooner rather than later, and Kobe playing like nothing ever happened, was surely the hope. Now comes this mysterious departure from training camp for what D’Antoni insisted was a “planned” procedure, will no doubt raise eyebrows around the league.
Injury news in recent years, particularly to some of the game’s biggest stars, has tended to come with some crushing results for those involved.
But until we get more details, all we can do is take D’Antoni at his word and assume that Kobe’s off for some routine maintenance on a 35-year-old body with tons of mileage on its engine.