Kobe Bryant has considered retirement after a lasting image behind the Los Angeles Lakers’ four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals.
It’s hard to believe that Kobe Bryant could leave, but he did miss a game-winning shot in Game 1, not to mention his limited speed on the court following surgery to his right knee and a sprained left ankle.
His 23.25 points on 45.7% shooting showed he couldn’t overcome double teams and fatigue. It would’ve hardly been the best way to end a storied career.
Yet, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez told reporters Saturday that the NBA player told him the pain in his right knee and ankle felt so overwhelming that he considered leaving the game. That is, until an innovative procedure in Germany this off-season on both his right knee and left ankle fixed everything.
Bryant “was really adamant about how great the procedure was for him,” Rodriguez told reporters. “I know that he was hurting before, almost even thinking about retirement, that’s how much pain he was under. And then he said after he went to Germany he felt like a 27-year-old again. I was still a little apprehensive about it and he kept staying on me about it.”
It remains to be seen to what degree, upon Bryant’s advice, consulting Dr. Peter Wehling at the Center for Orthopaedics and Molecular Medicine in Dusseldorf will help Rodriguez. There he received orthokine treatments on his right knee and left shoulder as well as five injections on consecutive days. But for Bryant, the contrasting results between the 2009-10 campaign and the first 33 games of the 2010-2011 season provide all the answers.
Last season, Bryant’s 25.3 points per game marked his lowest statistical output since the 2003-04 campaign. He played 33.9 minutes per game so he could preserve his energy for the playoffs. Bryant sat out of most practices. Although he downplayed them, Bryant’s on-court movement indicated he wanted to minimize further pain to his surgically repaired right knee and sprained left ankle.
This season, Bryant leads the league in scoring (28.4 ppg). He logs 38 minutes per game. Bryant plays in most practices. He hardly shows a torn ligament in his right wrist bothers him.