Kobe Bryant‘s 2013-14 season looks to be finished after just six games. All that’s left is the word from either Kobe or the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report from Bleacher Report columnist Kevin Ding that broke late last night.
ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard confirmed what Ding first reported, saying that Bryant is indeed finished for the 2013-14 season:
"Bryant is not accompanying the team on its trip to Oklahoma City and San Antonio, staying back to be reexamined by team doctor Steve Lombardo. And considering where Bryant's level of discomfort remains with the fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, barring an unforeseen change, the team will finalize the decision that Bryant will not play again this season."
Bryant, 35, has not played since December 17 when he fractured his knee during a game against Memphis after having missed the first 19 games of the 2013-14 NBA season recovering from a torn Achilles from last April.
The Lakers have 18 games left and stand 15.5 games out of the eighth and last playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Sixteen-times NBA All-Star Bryant, so dominant a force on the NBA stage that he was still elected to a place on this season's All-Star game, which he declined, has averaged 13.8 points and 6.3 assists in his abbreviated action.
Bryant is expected to return to the Lakers next season after having signed a two-year contract extension earlier this season.
This is yet another blow in a season full of them for Lakers fans, who have been reeling since last summer when Dwight Howard bolted from the scene via free agency for Houston. Bryant missing the remainder of the Lakers’ season, though, is just the latest dagger:
The timing of this pending announcement comes during the same week former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who joined forces with Bryant for five of his 11 titles as a coach, is announced as the basketball operations chief (the title is reportedly still being negotiated) of the New York Knicks.