A Gruesome Look at Kobe Bryant's Injury History

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIJanuary 9, 2012

A Gruesome Look at Kobe Bryant's Injury History

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    This article will look at Kobe Bryant’s injury history.

    There is no doubt Kobe Bryant is one of the most polarizing athletes of all time. But whether you love him or hate him, there is no doubting the man’s uncanny pain threshold, which he has exhibited time and time again throughout his career.

    Kobe often plays through injuries that would likely sideline some of his contemporaries for weeks.

    Let’s start at the beginning and take a look at Kobe’s “bumps and bruises” through the years.

1999-2000: The First Wrist Injury

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    Prior to the start of the 1999-2000 season, Kobe Bryant broke his wrist, causing him to miss the first 15 games of Phil Jackson’s first season with the team.

    The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t miss their young star, however. The team posted an 11-4 record without Bryant in the lineup.

    In his first game back, Kobe scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in a victory over the Golden State Warriors.

2000 NBA Finals: Coming Up Clutch with a Bum Ankle

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    After suffering an ankle sprain in Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers, Kobe Bryant missed Game 3 of the championship series.

    But the franchise’s future all-time leading scorer returned for a crucial Game 4—and after Shaquille O’Neal fouled out in overtime, Kobe took over, hitting numerous clutch shots en route to scoring 28 points, giving the Lakers a commanding 3-1 series lead.

2000-2001: A Laundry List of Injuries

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    While Kobe Bryant didn’t have one major injury keeping him down during the Los Angeles Lakers’ run to their second consecutive championship, he had plenty of “nickel and dime” injuries that cost him time on the court.

    Some of Kobe’s injuries that season included hip and elbow bursitis and a sore shoulder and pinky.

2003-04: Time to "Shoulder" the Burden

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    After offseason surgery on his right shoulder, Kobe Bryant missed action after he re-aggravated the surgically repaired shoulder midway through the 2003-04 season.

    Given this was the season Kobe spent splitting time between the basketball and legal court, his shoulder was probably the least of his worries.

2004-05: An All-Around Miserable Season

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    In one of the franchise’s worst seasons since moving to Los Angeles, the Lakers failed to make the postseason for the first time since 1993-94.

    No thanks to Kobe missing a month with a sprained ankle.

2007-08: Carrying the Team on His Back

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    During the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz, Kobe Bryant suffered a back injury. But the injury couldn’t keep the then-reigning MVP down, as Kobe led the Los Angeles Lakers past the Jazz and eventually to the Western Conference title.

Kobe Bryant's Finger Wag...Er, Lack Thereof

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    Over the past several seasons, Kobe Bryant has been playing with an injured index finger.

    Because Kobe would rather chop the finger off than miss any games, he hasn’t been able to let the mangled digit heal properly, which means he will have to deal with the less-than-perfect index finger for the rest of his career and beyond.

Kobe Bryant's Not-so-Friendly Sprained Ankle

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    Thanks to an ankle sprain in the middle of the 2009-10 season, Kobe Bryant missed his first game since the end of the 2006-07 season.

    Bryant would end up missing a total of five games due to the gimpy ankle.

The Infamous Balky Right Knee

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    Over the summer, Kobe Bryant went to Germany to have an experimental procedure done on his right knee, which had previously been operated on three different times.

    Bryant had the knee drained several times during the 2010 postseason en route to the Lakers capturing their second consecutive championship.

    Also, Kobe revealed during the middle of last season to the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey that he had not been practicing to that point because there was so little cartilage under his ailing knee.

2011 Postseason: Another Ankle Sprain

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    In Game 4 of the Lakers' first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Hornets, Kobe Bryant rolled his left ankle.

    Kobe didn’t miss any time due to the injury. But it was all for naught, as the team was swept in the next round by the eventual champions, the Dallas Mavericks.

2011-12: The Torn Wrist Ligament

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    In an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Kobe Bryant suffered a torn ligament in his shooting wrist.

    But in typical Kobe fashion, the five-time champion has played in the team’s first 10 games despite the injury.

    Bryant has been receiving pregame injections in his injured wrist, allowing him to play.


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