This isn’t surprising, but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely heartening for basketball fans across the globe. Asked if he would return to play the 2015-2016 season after completing rehabilitation to repair a torn rotator cuff, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said, “That’s the plan.”
Though the five-time champion didn’t field questions from the media horde during a brief appearance at Staples Center last night for Pau Gasol’s return to Los Angeles, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes still managed to catch up with him:
Kobe Bryant addressed his expectations a day after shoulder surgery Thursday night in a brief interview with ESPN, saying he planned on being ready to play come September for the Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp.
“Yeah, that’s the plan,” he said.
Bryant said his rehab over the next couple of months will involve “a lot of patience.”
“Sore, but it’s OK,” Bryant said of his shoulder.
He said media opinion on whether he should return for a 20th season or retire wouldn’t affect his decision.
“I don’t really listen much to what people have to say, to be honest with you,” Bryant said.
Bryant underwent successful surgery to repair his shoulder on Wednesday. The Lakers say he’ll be out approximately nine months, and doctors believe he’ll be able to make a full recovery. A September return would put his recovery time around eight months.
The future Hall-of-Famer signed a two-year $48.5 million extension with the purple-and-gold in November 2013. 2015-2016 will be the final year of his contract and 20th season of his storied career.
Though odds would seem to be against most 37 year-olds who have undergone three major injuries in as many years regaining starring form, we’d be remiss to count Bryant out. He’s made a career of doing close to the impossible, and his combination of skill and determination will surely spur him to some kind of effectiveness next season at the least.
We just hope the Lakers make enough moves this summer for Kobe’s diligence and dedication to pay off where it matters most – the win column.
What do you think?
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