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.
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.