LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will need surgery on a torn rotator cuff and will require season-ending surgery, according to reports Friday.
Team physician Steve Lombardo confirmed the diagnosis and discussed treatment options with Bryant, including surgery to repair the tear.
Bryant will be examined again by Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday, and they’ll decide whether Bryant needs surgery, according to team officials.
Reports of Bryant potentially missing the rest of the season appeared following an MRI revealed a torn rotator cuff , sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Friday.
The 36-year-old perennial All-Star suffered the injury during Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Bryant, who was voted as one of the Western Conference’s two starting All-Star guards Thursday, has averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games this season after playing just six games during the 2013-14 season.
The future Hall of Famer took to Twitter Friday to quip that his increased role as the Lakers’ primary facilitator on offense may have contributed to the injury.
“This is what happens when I pass too much! #ShoulderShock thank u all for ur thoughts and prayers”, Bryant wrote.
His latest injury – which comes after the 36-year-old had the shortest season of his career last season after suiting up just six times – has fueled a growing debate over whether Bryant should even bother mounting a comeback.
A CBSLA.com poll found over 61 percent of fans believe Bryant should retire, while just 33 percent say he should wait to play until next season.
In an editorial posted Friday, NBA.com writer Sekou Smith warned of an “ugly and inevitable end” to Bryant’s career regardless of the extent of the injury, saying, “It’s time for Kobe to start making preparations for a graceful exit from this game.”
But according to ESPN’s Shelburne, team officials aren’t concerned about a looming retirement if Bryant’s injury does indeed require surgery: ” If anything, the opposite is true. He’s more likely to come back next year [because] of this.”
Last season, Bryant signed a guaranteed two-year, $48.5 million contract extension through 2016.
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