Gary Vitti, who has been with the Lakers franchise for the past 27 years as the Lakers head athletic trainer, sat down with Lakers.com to discuss many topics.
Mostly the conversation was about the knee that Bryant was doing rehab on during the off-season, and well into training camp. Bryant was not able to participate in training camp, and was held back from practicing with the team during the season so he could sustain his energy and health in games.
However, in Kobe Bryant’s exit interview he said he was looking forward to an off-season in which he was healthy, and that there was “another level” that he can now reach physically (without having to worry about rehab).
Vitti talked about the possibility of Kobe Bryant, who turns 33 years-old in August, coming back healthier and better then he was in the 10-11 season.
We have to do some things so that he feels more comfortable and explosive with that right knee that he’s had repetitive surgeries on. Once we get to that place, then we’d like to see him practice more, but we don’t want the time that he spends on the court being spent on frivolous things. You gotta get him out there when he needs to be out there, and get him off the floor when he doesn’t. It’s more about quality time than quantity time…There are a couple of cards we have up our sleeve that we plan on playing, and he and I have been in daily communication about that.”
Vitti also talked specifically what the problem is with Kobe’s knee. Saying that he has a “articulating cartilage problem” adding that, “Kobe doesn’t have an arthritic knee, but he has a knee that has some joint degeneration to it.”
He also silenced reports that the New York Post reported in January that Kobe’s right knee was “almost bone on bone”
Vitti explained, “He does have cartilage left, so it was an inappropriate line. It’s just a question of preserving what [cartilage] is still there.”