Los Angeles Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant continues to fight through pain in his shooting wrist. He's getting some help from pain-killing injections, which have become an occurrence before every game, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange Country Register.
These days, over Bryant's right wrist also rests a fat post-game 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.
Bryant continues to perform at an elite level despite the difficult circumstances, but the question everybody is pondering is whether or not he'll be able to survive the entire season without missing time. Especially a condensed campaign like the one teams are currently enduring.
He's averaging 26 points, six rebounds and six assists so far, but other numbers illustrate a drop of efficiency. For example, his shooting percentage is at its lowest since his rookie season and his turnover rate is higher than it's ever been.
It's clear Bryant is doing whatever it takes to be out there with his teammates every game, which is no surprise considering his competitive fire. That said, he's probably going to need some rest eventually just to help him get through the year and decide the best course of action from there.
Should Bryant keep playing hurt?
At this point in his career, having endured a countless amount of time on the court since high school, Bryant knows he'll likely never feel completely healthy again. It's all about managing the pain enough while still being a useful contributor.
So far, so good on that front.
But it's a story that will grab headlines in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future and that media hounding will eventually start causing Bryant just as much pain in the wrist because he's never been a big fan of all the questions.
The NBA is more interesting when Kobe is going shot-for-shot with the opposing team's best players, so hopefully he can keep making it work.
As long as he knows he can't do any further damage of major consequence, you can count on him to do just that.