At All-Star weekend in New Orleans, Kobe Bryant called his recovery from a knee fracture “a slow process.”
That process has suffered another setback.
Lakers’ doctors examined Kobe on Friday and he continues to have soreness and swelling, so he will be re-evaluated in three weeks, according to the Orange County Register. Until then, no workouts, just more stationary bike (that Kobe admits he’s sick of).
With just 27 games left in the Lakers season it becomes hard to see how Kobe comes back to play before the April 16 end of the season. At the most optimistic end of the spectrum Kobe could be cleared to start working out again in mid-March, and after a few weeks of that he would be able to return for the final handful of games in what has been a disastrous Lakers season. That optimistic scenario has him back for 10 or fewer games at the end of a meaningless season. A season where the Lakers are better off losing and getting a higher draft pick anyway.
Kobe and the Lakers can do the math, they know the situation. Kobe hinted at this speaking to the media in New Orleans, saying he normally didn’t play much pick-up ball in the summer and just focused on his own thing, but that this summer would be different. Why? Presumably because he wouldn’t get in any games this season and there is no substitute for game action.
Kobe has played in just six games this season, missing the first weeks of the season recovering from his torn Achilles suffered at the end of last season. Then less than two full weeks into his comeback, he fractured the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. That has been slow to heal.
All the Lakers will say is that they are not going to rush him back. All Kobe will do is say what he said in New Orleans, that he has to “do what I have to do” and will keep grinding to get back. Of course he will, that’s who he is.
But at this point the math and situation becomes overwhelming and Kobe will have to admit he will not be back until next season. We all realize it. It’s just not time for Kobe to admit it publicly yet.