Report: Kobe Bryant “definitively coming back to play next season”

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Did you really think Kobe Bryant was going to leave the game on anything but his own terms?

There has been some suggestions from the punditry that with this latest injury — a torn rotator cuff that requires surgery and will end his season — that Kobe would walk away. That he would decide going through all the work of rehabilitation to fight back to play for what again will be a struggling Lakers squad would not be worth it. That he would let injuries dictate how his season would end.

Does that really sound like Kobe to you?

The guy who, once you put an obstacle in his path — say a torn Achilles tendon or a major knee surgery — feels he must overcome it? That’s not to mention the $25 million salary he has sitting on the table for next season. (I don’t care how much money someone has, you think they’d walk away from that much cash?)

Kobe is coming back, sources told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

This echoes what Hall of Fame big man and current Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale said about Bryant Sunday night before his Houston team knocked off Los Angeles. McHale played through a lot of pain his last couple years with the Celtics.

“I wanted to go out playing, and we made it to a playoff series and we lost but I went out playing as hard as I possibly could, I found a little magic in a bottle for a couple weeks and played pretty good, then that was the end of it,” McHale said before his Rockets beat the Lakers Sunday night at Staples. “It’s hard. You’re used to being able to do things, you’re used to your body responding, and if you’re a good player you’re used to your body bouncing back and doing a lot of stuff. You never really thought it could not hold up, but at some point it goes down.”

Next season Kobe will limit his minutes even more, he may take some games off for rest.

But he’s going to go out on his own terms. You can’t picture it any other way.