As Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant continues to rehab from the fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee that he suffered last month, he stated on Friday that the recent struggles of the team will not affect his return this season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“The only thing I can afford to consider is getting better, getting stronger,” Bryant said before the Lakers’ 107-104 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday. “I can’t allow myself to think any other way. I can only think about the next step. To do anything else becomes distracting if you allow yourself, if you give yourself wiggle room to not push yourself as hard as you possibly can. To think about sitting out and this, that and the other, your motivation is all wrong. I refuse to think that way.”
The 35-year-old also stated that he has pushed back his re-evaluation date back to the February as he appears to be taking more time to recover from his latest injury.
“We’ll see where it’s at in February and see if it’s good to go,” Bryant said, pushing back his return timeline ever so slightly, with D’Antoni having recently said Bryant would be re-evaluated Jan. 27, at the conclusion of the team’s current seven-game trip while the Grammy Awards take over Staples Center.
Before their current two-game winning streak, Los Angeles had lost 12 out of their last 13 games that including losing six straight contests. But for Bryant, he feels that the team’s struggles is something he cannot control and that his main concern is getting himself back on the court for the team as soon as he is medically cleared.
“I don’t think about that, man,” Bryant said. “It’s my job to be ready. It’s my job to get myself in gear and do my job.”
The 18-year veteran has only played in six games this season after his return from his torn left Achilles tendon before injurying his left knee. But in that time Bryant was able to get a feel how much he has left in the tank physically.
“I know where I’m at,” Bryant said. “Playing those games helped me identify that. So, in my training, I know exactly what adjustments I need to make and how my body felt and how I responded.”
It has been a difficult season for the Lakers as they currently lie in 11th place in the Western Conference at a 16-25 record and 7 1/2 games behind the Dallas Mavericks for the 8th spot in the conference. However, Los Angeles has shown some life as of late with their current tw0-game winning streak that has put them at 2-1 on the seven-game Grammy road trip.
But with that said, Bryant should return to court regardless of what the Lakers’ record is as it will allow him to get back into form. He can use the much-needed time on the floor to work the kinks out of his game and truly gauge what kind of player he will be for the remainder of his career.
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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