Kobe Bryant Injured His Right Shoulder, So He Played Left-Handed

Kobe bryant shoulderStacy Revere/GettyKobe Bryant will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder.

Kobe Bryant, at 36 years old, is doing everything he can to help the 12-31 Lakers, averaging an incredible 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in 35 minutes per game this season.

Despite the gaudy stat line, Bryant’s efficiency is way down. He’s shooting just 37% from the field, 29% from three, and career-worst 47.7% true shooting.

Bryant has turned into an efficient chucker for this lottery-bound Lakers team, and that’s with his dominant right hand.

Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, Bryant injured his right shoulder on a dunk in the third quarter, grimacing as he made his way up the court. He sat out most of the fourth quarter, but with five minutes remaining and the Lakers down 13, Bryant checked back into the game, and began shooting left-handed.

With the game practically out of reach — not that wins matter much for the Lakers at this point — most players would have sat out, avoiding the risk of worsening the injury. Bryant still attempted two shots with his left hand, one of which he made:

The other one he missed pretty badly:

Kobe Bryant’s toughness has never been questioned, but this is foolish of Bryant. The Lakers have no shot at the playoffs this season, and with Bryant logging heavy usage and high minutes, it makes sense to just shut him down or significantly cut his minutes to avoid hurting him further.

Bryant tried to downplay the injury after the game:

As Eric Freeman of Yahoo said:

Yes, Kobe did prove his commitment to staying on the court, but he established that trait long ago. The overwhelming impression of his decision to keep playing is something close to stubbornness or selfishness — only a player with an inflated sense of his own value would think his one-armed presence essential to victory.

Many expect next season, the final year on Bryant’s contract, to be his final in the NBA. The Lakers have a load of cap space this summer and could manage to put together a competitive team around Bryant in his final year. There’s no point in Bryant playing big minutes for a lottery-bound Lakers team, much less with his dominant arm injured.

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