Kobe Bryant: History Shows Preseason Injuries Will Not Hinder Lakers Superstar

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2012

FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the court during the game with the Golden State Warriors at Save Mart Center At Fresno State on October 7, 2012 in Fresno, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant hasn’t let minor injuries get the best of him in the past, which makes his shoulder strain of little concern for knowledgeable Los Angeles Lakers fans.

The Black Mamba reportedly hurt his right shoulder when he decided to dunk on one of L.A.’s offseason signings—Antawn Jamison—during a team practice. He sat on the bench for the duration of the preseason matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers the next day.

However, Bryant made it abundantly clear that this wasn’t a serious injury—telling Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times that he felt much better prior to tipoff and assuring doubters that he would be in the lineup against the Utah Jazz this coming Saturday.

Last year, Kobe was troubled with a torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, but he never missed a game and was fully healed by February.

In 2010, it was his right index finger. Prior to that, a pinky finger in 2008. Bryant has suffered numerous injuries throughout his career and has never missed more than six weeks, which happened way back in 1999 due to a broken hand.

Say what you will about Kobe as a teammate and his off-putting me-first attitude, but you cannot criticize his toughness. The guy grits through some unbearable pain to stay on the floor in order to keep his Lakers team competitive.

Missing an inconsequential preseason game isn’t anything new for the 17-year veteran, as it is clearly best to stay rested and healthy for the sake of the franchise and the player.

Don’t worry at all about Kobe sitting out exhibition contests, as the Black Mamba has shown that he’ll play through almost any pain.

Los Angeles is widely considered one of the favorites to win a championship in 2013—especially due to the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. This team doesn’t have a chance to accomplish that should Bryant be sidelined by injury.

The only time to be concerned is when he’s actually forced to sit during the regular season—and particularly in the playoffs—as you know the injury is severe.

Hopefully, the Lakers will not have to deal with anything serious happening to Bryant this year, as he is going to be instrumental to L.A.’s championship run.