When you are the Los Angeles Lakers, the last thing you need is to have your star player injured, again.
Kobe Bryant, 36, is out indefinitely with torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an MRI revealed, Lakers officials said Thursday (Friday in Manila).
The Lakers guard suffered the injury in the second half of Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
ESPN reported that Bryant “has been dealing with this shoulder injury since the preseason” and “he apparently aggravated it with 4:14 left in the third quarter against the Pelicans when he drove baseline for a two-handed dunk.”
He was seen grimacing after the play as he made his way up the court. Moments later, he checked out of the game.
The guard checked back in with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers down 13. He, however, spent the rest of the quarter shooting left-handed.
Despite Bryant’s toughness, the Lakers still lost to Pelicans with a 96-80 score.
It isn’t clear yet if he will miss the rest of the season. But in case he does, this will be the third time that he will be sidelined because of a season-ending injury. It can be recalled that Bryant has suffered knee and Achilles injuries in the recent seasons.
The Black Mamba, who passed Michael Jordan for third in NBA history in points earlier this season, has been averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season. However, his gaudy stat line cannot save the 12-31 Lakers who seemed to be competing with Minnesota Timberwolves for the worst record in the league.
Bryant was voted as All-Star starter in Western Conference Thursday night giving him a record of 17th consecutive year of All-Star appearance. If he’s unable to play because of the injury, the league will find a replacement for him.