We know him, if it was just a matter of playing through pain, Kobe Bryant would be back. But it’s not. He has a fractured lateral tibial plateau — the bone at the top of the shin that connects to the knee — and until the bone heals properly Kobe can’t return.
Which means he will be out at least another two weeks, maybe even a month, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Kobe’s formal review with a team doctor is scheduled for Tuesday.
Bryant’s level of discomfort is such that his visit with Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo on Tuesday evening before the Lakers face the Indiana Pacers will not even include an MRI or any other diagnostic procedure to judge the bone’s healing, according to a team source. Bryant is expected to miss at least two more weeks, perhaps even another month.
First off, this could take care of Kobe’s “I don’t want to play in the All-Star Game” issue. If he misses two more weeks exactly that would leave two games for the Lakers before the All-Star Weekend. It is very possible he is not healthy enough to return before the game, and if that is the case the league would announce an ijury replacement for him (then the coach would choose who would replace him as a starter, Scott Brooks of OKC likely chooses James Harden, Terry Stots of Portland might well go with LaMarcus Aldridge, both those players are virtual locks to be chosen as reserves by the coaches).
For the Lakers, it would likely mean more losing (which some of their fan base would love as that group wants the team in full tank mode). The Lakers are 4-16 without Bryant in the lineup but they do have help on the way soon — Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar are out Tuesday and Friday for the Lakers but practiced Monday and could return in the next week, plus Steve Nash hopes to practice with the team Thursday.
Still, you know being out this long and just riding a bike does not sit well with Bryant — if you have dreams of him sitting out the rest of the season and the team tanking, you know he’s not on board.
Bryant said Sunday in New York that it is “absolutely killing” him not to be medically cleared for anything beyond conditioning work on a bike. He has been reluctant to answer questions directly about his knee in a series of interview sessions over the past week, saying vaguely he’ll be re-evaluated “in February.” But what he and his fans hoped would be an inspirational comeback season from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered April 12 has eroded into a whole lot of Bryant sitting around, wincing at the end of the bench at Lakers losses and wearing colorless clothes that represent his basketball lifelessness.