LOS ANGELES — An examination by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo Friday night revealed that Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is still experiencing soreness and swelling in his left knee, which will be force him to miss at least the next three weeks.
The 35-year-old has been out since Dec. 17 due to a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee that occurred just nine days after returning from a torn left Achilles tendon that sidelined him for over eight months. Bryant’s original timeline for the injury was six weeks, but in the two examinations since have revealed persistent soreness and swelling in his left knee.
Over the All-Star Break, Bryant had described the recovery as a “slow process” and had remained adamant that he will still return this season. That goal now seems to be in jeopardy as Bryant has no timetable for his return and will miss at least the next 11 of the remaining 27 games of the regular season.
After Friday’s 101-92 win over the Boston Celtics, Pau Gasol expressed his support for his teammate’s that is fighting through an injury-plagued season.
“I know it’s tough for him and it’s been a very tough year,” Gasol said after his first game back from a strained right groin. “I just hope he gets healthy. If it takes a little bit longer that means he might not play again this season. I am sure he will stay positive and look ahead.”
The 15-time All-Star has played in only six games this season where he is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42.5 percent shooting in 29.5 minutes per game.
Nick Young and Xavier Henry were also examined on Friday night by Dr. Lombardo. Young, who has missed the last six games due to a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise, was cleared to play in Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. Henry was cleared for basketball activities, but no full court five-on-five drills.
The news for head coach Mike D’Antoni means that he will have plenty of players fighting for playing time, which he believe will lead to a increased competitive nature from the team with a group of players ready to prove themselves.
“Soon as we get X [Xavier Henry] back which will be a little bit longer, Nick, then we will have too many guys,” D’Antoni said after Friday’s game. ” Good thing about it is if you play well you will play, and if you don’t then you won’t play. We have a lot of guys who want to play and they will be competing for time. Let the best man win.”
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