Kobe Bryant hasn’t played since January 21, when he suffered a torn rotator cuff that sidelined him for the rest of the 2014-15 season. The Lakers have missed the playoffs the last two years and figure to again this year, but the team’s watchability and interest on a national level hinges heavily on Bryant’s health.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told USA Today‘s Sam Amick that they expect Bryant to be ready for the start of training camp, albeit with Byron Scott attempting to limit his participation.
“My understanding is that he’ll be ready for camp,” said Kupchak, whose team has exhibition games scheduled at the University of Hawaii against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6. “Knowing Kobe, he will try to participate in every practice in camp. But myself and (head coach) Byron (Scott) are going to have something to say about that. So I’m sure there will be a practice or two or three where we won’t let him practice, but I do expect him to be full bore at camp.”
That sounds about right. Good luck getting Bryant to agree to take some practices off without a fight. But he’s had season-ending knee injuries the last three years, and is likely entering his final season in the NBA. If he wants to stay healthy and finish out the season, the Lakers are going to have to be more conservative with what he does.