The Los Angeles Lakers announced via their website on Wednesday that Kobe Bryant will be out for the remainder of the season. Bryant, 35, suffered a fractured lateral tibial plateau of his left knee on Dec. 17 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bryant suffered the injury after battling back from a torn Achilles during the 2012-2013 season. His leg noticeably weakened, team doctors determined on Wednesday that the aging superstar's knee wasn't making the kind of recovery expected to allow him to return within the regular season:
"With Kobe’s injury still not healed, the amount of time he’d need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we’ve simply run out of time for him to return," said Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti. "However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and we look forward to him being 100% for the start of next season."
Los Angeles is firmly out of the playoff discussion in the heavy Western Conference with a record of 22-42. Bryant will need to take the rest of the offseason to rehab and get back in shape for the 2014-15 season.
The loss comes as yet another injury setback to the Lakers, who have seen Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar, among others, lose significant time to to the injury bug. Bryant signed an extension for $48.5 million for the next two years back in November of 2013.