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Kobe Bryant will miss rest of season with torn rotator cuff

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It appears the Lakers will elect to have Bryant receive season-ending shoulder surgery, though a final decision has not been made.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will miss rest of the 2014-15 season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, the team announced. Bryant will have surgery on Wednesday.

The injury took place in the Lakers' 96-80 loss to the Pelicans on Wednesday. Although Bryant did return to the game, he was clearly hampered and even shot his trademarked turnaround jumper left-handed. Coach Byron Scott took the blame for putting Bryant back in and apologized to the Lakers' star for playing him too many minutes all season.

Bryant is one of the NBA's greatest players, but the twilight of his career has come with a price. Bryant's 2012-13 season ended early due to a torn Achilles, then the guard only played six games last season before missing the rest of the year with a left knee injury. This season, the Lakers have bottomed out as one of the league's worst teams.

Last week, Bryant admitted retirement had "crossed his mind," and it remains to be seen whether the 36-year-old will attempt a comeback next season or decide to call it a career. The Lakers expect him to return, according to Shelburne, but a lot can change in a few months. Bryant finally passed Michael Jordan's scoring record in December and this injury could give him new motivation to come back and make one more run at it in Los Angeles.

Bryant was recently voted into the starting lineup of the Western Conference All-Star team for the 17th time in his career. He's averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season, although he's only shot 37.3 percent from the floor.

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