Kobe Bryant To Miss Rest Of Season

WEDNESDAY, 5:30pm: The Lakers have announced that Bryant underwent successful surgery today to repair the damage to his rotator cuff. Bryant is expected to be out nine months, which is a longer recovery time than was initially expected.

2:32pm: Scott acknowledged that Bryant is probably done for the season, as Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays (on Twitter).

MONDAY, 2:27pm: The Lakers star will undergo surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff, the Lakers announced (Twitter link). The team said it won’t provide a timetable for Bryant’s return until after the operation, but Wojnarowski reported last week that surgery would be season-ending (below). The team generally believes the surgery will require a six-month rehabilitation, but the club will wait for clarification after the procedure takes place on Wednesday, tweets Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding.

FRIDAY, 2:33pm: Bryant wants to pursue any avenue he can to play again this season, but there isn’t believed to be any reasonable way for Bryant to remain in the lineup given the significance of the injury to his shooting shoulder, Wojnarowski writes in a full story.

1:47pm: The Lakers and Bryant will wait until Monday to make a decision on his treatment, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Electing surgery would end his season, and there’s still “significant belief” within the organization that he’ll need the operation, but they’re holding off on that call for now, Wojnarowski adds (on Twitter).

1:17pm: A final determination on the prognosis for Kobe Bryant‘s torn rotator cuff is still to come, but the Lakers expect Bryant will miss the rest of the season, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). The Lakers announced Thursday that Bryant had suffered the injury to his right shoulder during Wednesday’s game. Still, there’s no fear that the setback will prompt Bryant to retire, and he’s instead more likely to play out his contract in the wake of the injury, Shelburne reported overnight (on Twitter). Bryant recently said he had considered retiring this coming summer, but he’s long been expected to at least play until the end of next season, when his deal expires.

The Lakers can’t apply for a disabled player exception, since the deadline to do so was last week, though the team already has a pair of such exceptions for Steve Nash and Julius Randle. Still, the team has a full 15-man roster, and without others expected to miss a significant amount of time, the Lakers can’t apply for another roster spot via hardship. The team applied for a hardship exception earlier this season, but it expired.

Coach Byron Scott said today that he was worried the injury was a result of his decision to give Bryant heavy minutes earlier this season, notes Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Scott added that he reached out to apologize to the 36-year-old star in the wake of the injury and that Bryant told him not to worry about it, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Bryant saw 37.1 minutes per game in December, but that’s tailed off to 30.9 MPG in games thus far in January.

Bryant’s injury can’t do much more harm to the Lakers in the standings, since the team is 12-31 and 13 and a half games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the loss of the league’s ninth-leading scorer this season seemingly strengthens the chance that the team will keep its first-round pick this year. The Lakers must relinquish it to the Suns if it falls outside the top five, and the purple-and-gold are currently fourth in the Reverse Standings.

The perennial All-Star had never missed 17 games in a single season until he tore his Achilles tendon late in the 2012/13 season. He came back to make only six appearances in 2013/14 before succumbing to a fractured knee, and he’s so far played in only 35 of the Lakers’ 43 games this season.

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