LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder, according to team officials.
Bryant, who injured his shoulder in the second half of Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, had an MRI exam Thursday in San Antonio, which revealed the tear, officials announced on Twitter.
The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer is expected to return to Los Angeles later Thursday, where he will be examined by team doctors Friday.
The Lakers declined to speculate on the severity of the injury, but many rotator cuff injuries require surgery and three to six months of rehabilitation.
Bryant, the third-leading scorer in NBA history, had the shortest season of his career last season after suiting up just six times. But he also signed a lucrative two-year, $48.5 million contract extension through 2016 that will presumably keep him in the Purple and Gold through the remainder of his career.
Oddly enough, the announcement about the 19-year veteran’s injury came exactly 9 years to the day after Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
The team is expected to release another update on his status after his follow-up tests, leaving his status for the second half of the season up in the air.
Bryant is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. He is shooting 37.3 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from 3-point territory through 35 games.
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