By Chip Dee: 35-year-old Kobe Bryant is nursing his latest injury, a fracture of his tibia that he suffered last month. The injury will keep him hobbled on the Lakers bench for another 4-6 weeks as he heals slowly. The injury is just the latest on the soon to be 36-year-old Bryant, as he suffered a debilitating torn left Achilles late last season in April of 2013. Kobe returned early from surgery from that injury and played poorly in 6 games this season before going down again, this time with the fracture of his tibia.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the fracture occurred on the same leg as his torn Achilles. Who knows? It’s hard to not draw a conclusion when you see a player like Kobe having an injury affecting the same limb. But when you get up in there in age to where Bryant is now, injuries are a fact of life. That’s why you see so few 35-year-old players in the NBA. Injuries and age slow them down to the point where they are forced to retire despite their having great knowledge about how the game is played.
Kobe was averaging 13.8 points per game before going down with his injury, and that’s way off from the 27.3 points per game that he averaged last season. But what is worrisome for Kobe – and the Lakers – is that Bryant’s field goal percentage was just .425, which is the 2nd lowest in his career. To be sure, Kobe’s fracture will heal within the next 6 weeks, and he’ll be able to return to the lineup this season to continue playing. However, the chances of Kobe playing well for the Lakers are slim at best.
He’ll have missed too much practice and game time for him to play at a high level this season, and it’s very unlikely that the Lakers will be better off with him being in the lineup. In other words, this season will essentially be lost for Kobe, and the Lakers owner will be eating Kobe’s contract money for this season without getting the high play that you would expect to get for a player making the kid of big money that Bryant is getting.