Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn rotator cuff, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Bryant, who was being examined by team doctors Friday, suffered the tear during the second half of Wednesday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, though sources said he has been dealing with the injury since the preseason.
Lakers coach Byron Scott expressed his concern during Friday morning’s shootaround in San Antonio.
“Yeah I’m worried,” Scott said. “We all in the organization are worried about it.”
Bryant, who has one year remaining on his contract with the Lakers for $25 million, apparently aggravated the injury with 4:14 left in the third quarter against the Pelicans when he drove baseline for a two-handed dunk.
“It felt fine when I went up, didn’t feel too good when I came down,” Bryant said after the game.
The 19-year veteran grabbed his shoulder as he ran back down the court and checked out of the game a few minutes later.
Bryant checked back in with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and immediately favored his shoulder. He tried to rebound and dribble with his left hand, but it became clear something was wrong when he shot and made a turnaround 14-foot jumper with just his left hand.
“Obviously after I saw that everything he did was with the left hand, I knew then, let’s get him out of there,” Scott said after the game.
Scott said Friday that he believed that Bryant, who played just six games last season after recovering from Achilles and knee injuries, could rehab another injury if need be.
“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.”