It appears that Kobe Bryant again has fallen victim to a season-ending injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers star is expected to miss the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign after tearing his rotator cuff Wednesday in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Friday.
Bryant had been dealing with an injury to his right shoulder since the preseason, per Shelburne’s sources, and reaggravated it Wednesday on a two-handed dunk during the third quarter.
“It felt fine when I went up,” Bryant told reporters after the game, via ESPN.com. “Didn’t feel too good when I came down.”
Bryant briefly returned to the floor later in the game but was pulled after the injury forced him to use his left, non-dominant hand to shoot a jumper.
He joked on Twitter that the injury was caused by him passing too much.
Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 23, 2015
Bryant missed the 2013 playoffs with a torn Achilles, which also sidelined him for the first month of last season. He returned to the Lakers’ lineup last December but fractured his knee in just his sixth game back, ending his season.
At 36 years old and with 19 seasons under his belt, it’s very possible that Bryant has played his final NBA game. Lakers coach Byron Scott, however, cannot see the five-time NBA champion going out like this.
“This is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around as far as dealing with injuries and things like that and being able to come back,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done after the Achilles, and he came back pretty strong.
“Knowing him the way I know him, I know he doesn’t want to go out this way. I think he’ll rehab it if that’s the case and then we’ll have to wait and see.”
Bryant has played in 35 of the Lakers’ 43 games this season, averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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