HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

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January 28, 2015 Updates

Bill Oram: Lakers announce the inevitable: Kobe Bryant surgery successful. The twist: He is expected to be out approximately nine months. Nine months is a longer timetable than most predicted. Still would have him back for start of regular season, roughly. Twitter @billoram

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who injured his right shoulder in last Wednesday night’s game against the Pelicans in New Orleans, underwent a successful surgery this morning to repair a torn rotator cuff. The approximately two-hour procedure was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steve Lombardo at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Bryant, who is expected to make a full recovery, will be out for approximately nine months. “I expect Kobe to make a full recovery and if all goes as expected, he should be ready for the start of the season,” said ElAttrache. NBA.com

January 27, 2015 Updates

Between the ages of 30 and 34 the Lakers played Bryant 37 minutes a game. On a mission to prove he didn't need Shaq, Bryant played through a host of injuries. He won some titles, too. At age 34 in the 2012-13 season, Bryant played 76 of the Lakers' first 78 games and was averaging nearly 39 minutes a game. He averaged 45 minutes per game over the last seven games he played before he snapped his Achilles tendon after playing 45 minutes in that fateful game. Bryant's career was derailed by that injury but not at that moment, because he's was barreling toward it for years. There's no need to ask then coach Mike D'Antoni or the Lakers organization if they have any regrets. Byron Scott certainly has regrets about playing Bryant 35 minutes a game this season with a lingering sore shoulder. Had the Lakers been more judicious over the past five to six years with Bryant, would he be in this position today, having a third straight season ended by injury? No one knows. ESPN.com

Can he withstand another grueling stretch of rehab after fighting his way back from Achilles and knee injuries that kept him out all but six games last season? "It's just a matter of if he wants to go through it all again," Denver Nuggets Coach Brian Shaw said Monday night before his team played the Clippers at Staples Center. "I don't think that you can put anything past him." Los Angeles Times

January 26, 2015 Updates

Coach Byron Scott said Monday that Bryant was in high spirits when they spoke Monday morning, adding that he “probably sounded worse than (Bryant) did. We all know how tough he is and he’s a trooper.” Scott said he also expects the Lakers guard to return to the court next season. “I think he’s already proven that with the Achilles’ last year,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done and the first month of the season, he proved to everybody that he still has a lot left in the tank and I think he still has that hunger and competitive nature and will prove it again. At times, we don’t appreciate all the stuff he has been able to accomplish or appreciate how tough he is and all the things he’s come back with.” Orange County Register

If there is some good to come out of the rotator cuff injury that sidelined Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season, it is that the Lakers could lose a whole lot of games the rest of the way and finally be in position to draft a Kobe guy—this time, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson. Several times in recent years, Bryant has formed a connection with a top prospect in the upcoming draft, with an introduction and the possibility of workouts and friendship. Those players wind up signing with Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka. Such was the case with Dante Exum last year, Derrick Williams in 2011 and James Harden in 2009. But the Lakers could, finally, wind up with a Kobe draftee. According to league sources, Pelinka is in position to sign the fast-rising Johnson, should Johnson do the inevitable and leave school early. As Arizona has pushed its way up the rankings—they’re 18-2 and currently No. 6—Johnson’s stock has soared. Sporting News

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