Kobe Unfazed By Latest Injury Setback, Vows To Return To Lakers This Season




VIDEO: The TNT crew discussed Kobe’s latest setback and what it means for the Lakers

LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant has seen your tweets. He might have even read them twice. And no, he’s not shutting it down this season, his latest setback (the fractured knee he suffered last week) won’t deter him and yes, he will absolutely return to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, despite calls for him to shut it down and just get ready for next season.

Any suggestions that he might shut it down for the season Bryant insists are not only misguided but just plain foolish. He has an obligation to get through his latest rehab stint and get back on the court with the Lakers and chase the playoff berth they have been planning on since he missed out on it last season.

“No, not that I’m aware of,” Bryant said when asked if there was any chance six games would be the total of his workload this season. “My job as an athlete is to train, get healthy, get strong and come back and do my job.”

Bryant dropped that bit of business, and more, before watching the Lakers play the Miami Heat on Christmas at Staples Center, the first time in his storied career that he hasn’t been in uniform for a showcase day game.

Some Christmas it turned out to be for him. Instead of squaring off against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat under the brightest of lights, Bryant instead spent his day watching the action. Before he suffered that latest setback, Bryant had this matchup circled on his calendar.

“This was a really big measuring stick,” Bryant said of the matchup against the Heat. “Because of their speed, their activity and their size. I was really looking forward to this game to be able to measure where I was physically, especially with the time frame I came back. I was really looking at this game to measure what I can do and what I can’t do.”

Bryant returned from April Achilles surgery to play just six games before fracturing his let knee last week  in the third quarter of a game he actually finished against the Memphis Grizzlies. That mean six more weeks on the shelf and six more weeks of doing the one thing he loathes the most, and that’s watching his team play in a suit.

When asked if he thought pushing to get back from the Achilles injury had anything to do with the knee fracture, Bryant resisted the urge to go off.

“Because it’s Christmas I will refrain from being a smart ass,” he said. “I don’t think one had anything to do with the other. I mean, we evaluated it pretty extensively. The fact of the matter is, any of us can get hurt at any moment. The key for us at athletes is to block that fear out. And when you have injuries that fear is enhanced. You kind of put yourself under a microscope and you start thinking about it too much. It can happen to anybody. So you just have to tune that noise out and go out there and perform.”

That, of course, was the plan for Christmas. Bryant has been a Christmas Day staple throughout his career. For the better part of the past two decades fans have been able to rely on him suiting up and putting on his usual show with the Lakers. Much like everything that has gone on since April, Wednesday’s trip to the arena was a new experienced for him.

“It’s strange to be coming in on Christmas and not playing,” he said. “It’s really strange. It’s a foreign feeling. But I’m here, here to support my guys. It’s hard to watch. It’s really, really hard to watch, because you want to be out there helping and playing and competing with your guys. But when you are watching … that’s just the really, really tough part about this. I find myself kind of watching a little bit and then changing the channel, then watching a little bit more and then changing the channel again.”

Still, the toughest part of this entire ordeal for Bryant is that he said he was just starting to get back to normal in that game against the Grizzlies.

“The biggest part of my game the last two or three years has been getting to a space on the floor and then elevate and shoot pull up jump shots or get into the paint,” Bryant said. “It was a great test going up against Tony Allen, who in my opinion has been the guy who defended me the best individually since I’ve been in the league. And with four games in five nights, to be able to go up against him and respond to that challenge … I was feeling really good about things.”

With that feeling gone and another month or so to grind away getting ready for yet another comeback, Bryant has not lost any of his fire.

“My spirits are fine,” he said. “My spirits are fine. I feel more locked in now than I have my entire career because of this. My spirits are fine, focus is great and we’re just going to have to see what happens when I come back.”

In the meantime, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni will save his pep talks for someone that actually needs one, because Bryant does not.

“You know Kobe’s scheming to come back,” he said, “and getting ready and doing everything he can to push the envelop and be ready.”

36 Comments

  1. Mad_Mascot says:

    Good thing his kids don’t look like Vanessa

  2. Mad_Mascot says:

    Kobe: the best SG since Jerry West

  3. Mad_Mascot says:

    All Kobe got left is his cheap sneakers..
    maybe join TNT’s Shaq, EJ and Kenny.?

  4. Mad_Mascot says:

    There’s Duncan, LBJ, K.D. and whoever is the “next” Kobe..
    Melo? Rose? Westbrook? CP3? George? Irving? Curry?..

  5. dabeast says:

    One of the main problems the Lakers have to face is…Mike d’Antoni. How can you call yourself a coach, at this level, and don’t give a fuss about defense. One system on the game…7 seconds or less… And you don’t care about defense. And you expect to hold the biggest teams under your amount of points. Mike d’Antoni is hurting the Lakers at an incredible level. You win a game with a good defense. If your best scorers (with a Kobeless team) average 15-16pts/game how could you lead some teams with scorers like Durant, LBJ, Harden & Howard…etc? The Lakers should think first of hiring a new coach with a realistic and strong basketball philosophy. Then they could handle their young team and deal with the bunch of injuries the have… Hope to see KB24 healthy and enough in shape to help his team.

  6. jimbo says:

    Nice talk but it doesn’t really matter what Kobe does this year. The Lakers are a non-playoff team without him and an 8th seed with him. People, Kobe is 35. He is a superb athlete, but don’t expect him to be the player you watched last year. An achilles injury for a basketball player is about the most severe injury one can sustain, requiring much time to heal (time exponentially increases with age). He was signed on for two more years for one reason… to be the draw for sellouts, not for a championship. Any knowledgeable baller can see they have way too many holes to fill. So guys, enjoy watching Kobe when he returns, because that is about all the joy you will experience regarding the Laker team for the next few years.

  7. Hey man Kobe gone do his thang regardless of wat people think he just need to take his time and come back stronger……

  8. Kameron Nicholson says:

    Get well soon Kobe. You are my idol man.

  9. KDfan says:

    Kobe WAS a great athlete before his last years very unfortunate season ending injury. He’s never going to be the same again and we shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations. The human body gets exponentially slower as one grows older especially after 30 and especially after one has worn down their body in the NBA. Nobody including Kobe should expect him to return to his previous abilities on the court. He will return to 1/2 or at best 3/4 of his pre-injury prowess. This is not meant to sound demeaning at all in any way, but it’s the cold hard truth. He also had his knee injected in Germany during his recovery from the Achilles tear. Kobe can return when he is fully healed and rehabed and be a playmaker. He has a great basketball IQ and sees the court better than most in todays league. Add to that his vast experience. His only downfall might be his (?inflated) ego, unless he controls it or reigns it in. There is however a better alternative. It’s still not too late for a respectable and honorable retirement. The fans will understand this and respect him more for that. Kobe has the undying desire to keep playing which is ok, but the fans have unrealistic expectations from his game when he comes back. How can Kobe keep both himself and the fans happy?

  10. Big Al of Bondi says:

    Is it really the coach being unable to maximize his team? The Suns, with that kind of lineup, were expected to sit well below the standings, but they are proving everyone wrong with sixth in the West. I don’t see how the Lakers have worse players than Phoenix.

    But as for Kobe, he really deserves to be back on court. He carried the team on his shoulders last season and sustained the Achilles injury for all the wrong reasons. His being sidelined is definitely unfair. Nonetheless, he is a true warrior and will never quit. Hope he comes back soon and no more major injuries of any sort.

  11. jellybean(mamba) says:

    love Kobe….but he needs to understand to recover fully until your game ready…. competitors could be mentally ready but your body is not game ready….there’s no way in he$l the Lakers are making the playoffs I am Lakers fan and I am saying that. Recover until next year…I am trying to see a Kobe Lakers come back and take over next year.

    • Hmmmm says:

      Yea, Kobe needs to wait until next and the Lakers need a new coach. They should at least try to tank a little to improve odds unless they trade for Melo. Tho I don’t see him leading a team anywhere after Kobe’s gone. He’ll jump ship if they don’t win a Chip

  12. Unkle Daddy says:

    This guys ego is so big it’s rediculus. He’s so afraid that he will lose his popularity-pecking order it’s unbelievable.

  13. mich says:

    KOBE is a true hero. He can do what we want to do on basketball. When he says I’ll play HE will play.Kobe can still average 20+ PPG he’s not a child to surrender on that easy way . he will face it.
    Kobe get well soon…, and let them watch your moves in basketball on your return SHOW THEM A LEGEND LEVEL!!!

  14. Albert Pang Tze Kaan says:

    KB. Glad to hear that you’re back in the game again. That’s a huge relief for the already short-handed La Lakers squad.

    Unfortunately, you’re bugged by injuries yet again. Sad to hear that man! ! ! !

    I know just exactly how much you wanted to get back into the game & contribute to the La Lakers team. & yes, it’s true. Lalakers team can’t do without you, Pau Gasol & those currently on the injuries players lists to count.

    No doubt, it’s a regular season after all. But somehow, seriously with all the key players out of the games which La Lakers are scheduled to compete with. Be it home games or away games, it’s still crucial that you make your strong presence felt to the others in the La Lakers team. As every single Lalkers players looked up to you KB as both a mentor & a huge motivator to each & every single games Lakers have on the schedule. & be it home games or away games. You’re a big motivator & a big brother to every single young players in the Lakers team.

    As for us Lakers international fans, we hope to see you in every single games, away & home as well. Coz, in short you’re the greatest player cum mentor & cum motivator for all the Lakers players in your team.

    Keep it up with the good work KB. Stay healthy & fit too. We all loved ya & hope to see you in the next couple of games with the Lakers team again.

    Take care cha brother & god blessed you.

    .

    Fm : Albert Pang(red dot) Singapore.

  15. l41k4 says:

    if Kobe should retire , what should Allen do ?!
    Kobe is in good shape and can play v good game

  16. allan panolong says:

    Dude they want KB24 to retire so that he can join charles and other bunch of retirees, lol! KB24 can still play the ball at high level despite the injuries. So sir charles stop calling KB24 to retire.

    • sports fan says:

      If you watch the video Barkley said that Kobe should shut it down this season in order to play the next two seasons. He also said that Kobe will come back a solid player.

  17. Kobe will be back and averaging 25 5 and 5. Also the Lakers are alot better than they have played soo far and if they can get healthy they will suprise people. If they slip in to the playoffs with a healthy team the west should lookout. Either way I love watching Kobe play just like I did M.J. He’s the Greatest in the game today. Enjoy it while it lasts. Get well soon and Merry Xmas Mr. Mamba.

    • Hmmmm says:

      Are you insane I love Kobe but that’s crazy talk with this team as it is. Younger combo guard would be perfect like Westbrook or Wall. Someone who can lead the pack and give Kobe a breather along with playing beside him.

  18. riki777 says:

    kobe is the best in the nba, but he needs a one more superstar to gat 6 ring!!!
    kobe
    carmelo
    bledsoe
    hayward
    pau
    for the bench
    young, henry, meeks, hill,johnson

  19. robin abas says:

    Go Kobe, I know that you can do it. I’ll pray to God that you will be back at your 100% as well as the Lakers nation. God bless us all. Merry christmas!

  20. J4CK Nicholson says:

    The Lakers are done this season with or without Kobe. But the supporting cast looks promising, Meeks, Henry, Johnson, Young, Hill and Kaman (even Farmar and Blake) are finding themselves on the thick of the fight. Now they just have to trade or let go off Pau, amnesty Nash and change coach (Jerry Sloan please) if possible.

  21. guy says:

    thanks, KB24… HAPPY MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND GET BACK SOON

  22. okc2014 says:

    If Kobe Bryant is not cleared to play, he will not play. If Kobe Bryant is cleared to play and he wants to play, he should play. None of these factors will affect the Lakers outcome. The Lakers, for the past 2 years, have been unable to keep up with their competition in their own Western Conference: OKC, San Antonio, Houston, GSW, Clippers, Denver, and now Portland. Too bad, sooo sad.

  23. Stev says:

    Kobe…please take care of your body. Don’t want your body to break. TAKE YOUR TIME

  24. jonski22 says:

    “My job as an athlete is to train, get healthy, get strong and come back and do my job.” -Kobe

    i wish more athletes feel or the same..after all they get paid in millions…

    i really wish Kobe could come back and play awhile…until we can see something like him…we have Jordan, then Kobe, but who is next? MJ and KB are exciting player..they have moves…they are athletic..and able to adjust as they lose their athleticism…i don’t see LBJ, Wade, Harden, Durant or any current superstars that play and moves like MJ and Kobe…

    • 0_o? says:

      you just showed how idiot you are..kobe copied MJ’s each and every move..you won’t see LBJ, Wade, Harden, Durant etc playing with the EXACT same move as MJ’s. because they are totally different, they play their own game. They grew up watching MJ but didn’t grow up copying MJ. go back to your CAVE!

      • nickstjohn says:

        I bet you are no good an never have been at playing ball. Think about it… If your a younger player an you want to practice and be great.. You copy moves of other players and practice/learn them.. Why not copy from the greatest ever -MJ-… It’s not a bad thing, that’s why he’s got 5 rings.. Oh I forgot, how many rings does LBJ-WADE, Harden, Durant, Rose, CP3, Carmelo, have combined??? 4!!! Hmmm.. Kobe must be doing something right

    • allaroundballer says:

      How could u expect durant n james to move like mj? Lol. They’re sf/pf n also bigger. Durant is actually reminds me to mj. Not the way he plays, more about how he builds his legacy. He develops his game and also growing together with his first teamates. If someday he got his rings as okc player. Then I have to say he’s better than lebron

  25. rodney Lane says:

    KObe goes hard day and day out he is a true warrior when it comes to the game of basketball.

  26. you are all ... says:

    His knee was not unrelated. His skills had diminished which is why he did not shake his defender well and making an unusual movement on his left knee.

  27. justin says:

    Good, show those lebron fanboys

  28. blackmussu says:

    What slow recovery? Kobe was more than half a year ahead schedule in recovery. The knee injury is totally unrelated. Not many humans can recover from a completely torn Achilles tendon in only 6 to 7 months. What are you talking about?

    • elyoruga says:

      Thats an expected timetable for a torn achilles if you are in your early 20s. Its amazing because obviously kobe is way older than that and still managed to heal within the scheduled timetable.

  29. KOB says:

    Good for him i wish him the best and people plz stop telling the man to retire, dude just loves basketball so much and still push his body just to play. we should just respect his decision, he deserved at least that much from us fans.