After calling his recovery from his fractured left knee a “slow process” prior to Sunday’s All-Star game, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has remained focused on the task at hand.
“Just try to get better and then go from there,” he said when asked of his hopes for playing. “I just try to focus, keep my blinders on and just do what I have to do and not worry too much about what’s going on around you, but just stay focused on what my responsibilities are.”
Bryant has been sidelined since Dec. 17 with a fracture off the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee that happened just nine days after returning from a torn left Achilles tendon that had sidelined him for over eight months.
Despite only playing in six games due to injuries, he was selected an All-Star for the Western Conference for the 16th time in his career.
The 35-year did however admit that he has had doubt that he will be able to return from his latest injury but those thoughts have further fueled his determination to get back on the court.
“That’s part of the excitement of the challenge, that level of uncertainty,” Bryant said. ” ‘Is this it?’ sort of thing, ‘Are my best days behind me’ sort of thing.
“And to have those conversations with yourself and not be intimidated by that and … not succumbing to that is part of the challenge. It’s really the biggest challenge is saying, ‘Well, maybe this is the end. But then again, maybe it’s not.’ “
As for the Lakers financial flexibility for this upcoming offseason, Bryant appeared to be very confident in team’s front office to make the right move.
“I have all the confidence in the world that [management] can get the job done,” Bryant said. “I’m not concerned about it at all. They have the flexibility to do it and they have the room to be able to do it, and I’m sure they will make the right decisions from top to bottom.”
Los Angeles is in line to possess over $30 million in cap space with an expected free agent field that will feature players such as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, and Rudy Gay just to name a few.
“What we have coming up this offseason with the cap space and what we have ahead of ourselves seems to be right in the Lakers’ wheelhouse in terms of turning things around pretty quickly,” Bryant said. “When we’ve had summers like this, they have never really faltered. The have normally made really sound and excellent decisions that put us right back in contention. So I think this offseason is right in their wheelhouse.”
So with the second half of the season about to begin, it will be interesting to see whether Bryant will play as his leg’s healing process has slowed. But with that said, there is no doubting that he will return when he is fully capable to be it this season or next.
Photo Credit: Noah Graham/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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