Tag: Kobe surgery

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Kobe says his knee is “best it’s been in a long time”


Maybe what Kobe Bryant’s knee needed was a little rest and some expensive, exotic therapy.

His knee had been an issue the last couple seasons — it’s almost bone on bone. It’s why Kobe had surgery on it last summer, and why he had to have it drained multiple times in previous years. It’s why Kobe sat out most Lakers practices last season. But three straight trips to the NBA finals with an Olympics thrown in is a lot of basketball and not a lot of rest the last few years.

This year the Lakers got unceremoniously bounced in the second round by the Mavericks. Lakers fans hated that, but apparently Kobe’s knees liked it.

That’s what he told Derek Fisher while the two were raking in an easy paycheck in the Philippines, according to the Orange County Register.

Derek Fisher said Friday about teammate and pal Kobe Bryant: “He’s telling me — and I saw for myself — that his knee is the best it’s been in a long time…”

Fisher said he didn’t really believe Bryant’s boasting initially, but seeing Bryant in action was convincing.

“I saw it a little bit in Manila,” Fisher said, smiling, “so I believe it now.”

Things that would help the Lakers bounce back next year include a healthier Kobe (with a new coach he can’t be sitting out practices). Another thing that would help is a new point guard, but we’ll talk to Fisher about that later.

Kobe admits his knee is nearly bone-on-bone

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

It is hard to judge just how much Kobe Bryant is hurting.

It’s because he doesn’t give in to his body, he just keeps pushing through the pain. He keeps playing, keeps pressing forward and pushing his team with a Terminator like will. He can be slowed by pain, he may miss shots with a broken finger, but he does not stop. Ever.

But Kobe’s right knee — the one he had surgery on this past summer for a third time in his 15 seasons — is bad and that is why he has been sitting out team practices this year, he told Peter Vecsey of the New York Post.

“Because I have very little cartilage under my right knee cap, it’s almost bone on bone…

“You know how competitive and combative I am on the court,” he said. “There’s nothing I like better than to practice. In fact, I like practice more than the games, because I get to go at my teammates hard. That’s when you find out what they’re made of, how much you can push some to get the most out of ’em, and how you have to back off others so you don’t lose ’em…

“So, in order to protect my knee and avoid a situation like last year (where he had to have his knee drained of fluid during the playoffs), we decided before the season to sacrifice the team’s intensity by minimizing wear and tear as much as possible.”

After the ugly string of Lakers games around Christmas, Kobe scrapped that plan and has come back to practice to pick up the intensity. He also has picked up the intensity of therapy on his knee so he can get through all this.

We’ve seen what bone-on-bone knee pain has done to Brandon Roy. It should make Lakers fans — and just fans of basketball — take a step back and really appreciate what Bryant does on the court right now. Because at some point soon he will not be able to push past the knee pain any more, the elevation won’t be quite the same on the jump shot, the explosion heading to the rim will be missing.

Kobe will adjust and still be effective. He already has started to, moving more into the post for his offense. But that will be a slightly different Kobe. We should appreciate the one we have now.

Phil Jackson wants to limit Kobe’s minutes at start of season. Good luck with that.

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Kobe Bryant rests about as much as the T1000.

He played just a hair under 39 minutes a game last season. He has never played less than 36.1 minutes a game since 1998. And that’s just the regular season. (And you wonder why people talk about all the miles on that body, minutes that would matter more if he was not made out of a nanomorph mimetic poly-alloy just like the T1000).

Kobe’s conditioning and will to win drive those minutes, but Lakers coach Phil Jackson has watched him on a gimpy knee this preseason and said he wants to limit Kobe’s minutes when the games get serious next week. Here is Jackson’s quote from the Kamenetzky brothers at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“He’s the best caretaker I’ve ever seen of his own personal physique. So I anticipate he’s got this measured as to how he wants to do it. I don’t anticipate he’s going to be playing heavy minute games to start the season. So we’ll have to find a pattern out there so he has the greatest influence in the amount of minutes he’s in.”

Kobe isn’t on some Yao Ming-like limit. It’s more about taking him out and giving him more rest while Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes fill in (and maybe Sasha now and again). It’s about getting him healthy rather than letting everything linger.

Which is a great plan until there’s a close game early in the fourth quarter next week and Kobe just checks himself in and pushes through the rest of the way. Kobe is not quietly going to just sit there on the bench if his team is struggling to score or is locked in a close on. That’s not how he is wired.

Jackson is a powerful coach. But good luck keeping Kobe’s minutes down.