It’s easy to criticize Kobe Bryant for his shooting so far this season. His shooting percentage is the lowest it has been since his rookie year. He’s shot L.A. out of several games, but also dropped a brilliant performance on Tuesday against the Rockets. In total, though, it’s been a really rough season for him on and off the court. But there is no question the guy is the toughest son of baller on the planet. The Orange County Register has a piece Thursday on the terrible toll the torn ligament in his wrist has had on the Black Mamba. It’s not pretty:
These days, over Bryant’s right wrist also rests a fat postgame ice wrap roughly the size of rookie guard Andrew Goudelock, Bryant trying in vain to minimize swelling after acting on the court as if there isn’t a torn ligament in there.
Bryant has been taking a numbing injection to that wrist before every game in hopes of performing normally. Yes, it’s that bad.
He does not want to publicize all the details of his wrist, which is usable only because the bones were not moved permanently out of alignment without the ligament to hold them in place. But it’s now clear just how problematic the wrist is, and it’s fair to wonder where all this will take Bryant.
Bryant walked out of Staples Center on Tuesday night with something that looked like an oven mitten over his right hand and wrist. He wears an immobilizing brace over the wrist when off the court, meaning take-for-granted parts of life such as texting on his phone or zipping his fly become rather challenging.
Dude can’t zip his fly! And he’s shooting on it! He’s shooting in an NBA game without the ability to zip his fly. That’s pretty much the craziest thing we’ve read about Bryant’s devotion… this week.
Beyond the impressive dedication, however, is the sobering reality that Bryant was looking forward to finally being healthy. His knee is better than it has been in years after an experimental procedure. His pinky was finally healed. And now the wrist looks like it may be a problem throughout the entire year. He can’t rest it, he has to play on it. And as long as it’s this bad, he’s going to be amazing some nights, and really struggle the next. How he adapts to that reality will determine how far the Lakers go this year.