Fox Sports: Call him nuts.

Call him a little bit over the top when it comes to his basketball commitment.

You can call Kobe Bryant anything you want, but you can drop all this selfish stuff about him being more important than the team. And you can even take it a step further as he proves he is far more willing to stick himself out there for his teammates than Shaquille O’Neal ever was.

Tuesday on his website, Bryant addressed the topic of the damaged ligament in his right pinkie finger that has needed surgery since Feb. 5. Doctors told him it will take up to three months to heal, so Bryant has opted again not to have it repaired — just as he did more than seven months ago and after the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the Finals in June.

Wrote Bryant, “When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery. What it really came down to for me is that I just didn’t want to miss any time ‘punching the clock’ for the Lakers, given all we are trying to accomplish as a team this NBA season.”

If he were to have surgery this week, he would likely miss at least the first month of the regular season, which begins Oct. 28 for the Lakers. And keep in mind, Bryant still played in all 82 regular-season games and 21 playoff games despite the injury during the Lakers’ 2007-08 march through the Western Conference. He averaged 30.1 points during the playoffs after a regular-season average of 28.3, as the Lakers surprisingly won the conference title.

Continue reading ‘Kobe’s decision is selfless, but is it smart?’

  • Dracul

    Kobe feels that he can still be effective with his fingers taped. Did it affect him? Maybe, but since he was dunking pretty regularly, it means there at least was no pain or discomfort. As far as ball handling , since he can’t activate his pinkie, it would have to be used just as a limp scoop to control that part of the ball, since the ring finger is the only one on that end with available ‘power’- I don’t recall Kobe losing the handle at any particular point, so ball handling doesn’t seem to be affected enough to make a difference. As far as shooting, he acknowledged that his jumpshot release might be a bit choppy, but I think he has adjusted to giving the ball the last control touch with his ring finger, so essentially he’d be shooting by basing the shot on 4 fingers. Once again, his 2 point shooting percentage would have to be looked at, which is at 53.2% – Bottom line – He is dunking, he has shown to be able to play comfortably with a non-operating pinkie, and he took the team all the way to within 2 games of an NBA championship without their starting (and true) center. He knows how difficult it is to win the west – the top 6 teams were within 2 games of each other. He also knows that the lakers will pretty much need to win every possible game this season, because they’ll need to get a better record than the projected Eastern Conference Champions to get Finals home court advantage.

    Was it a smart decision to forgo surgery? In the short term, in order to make sure the Lakers stay on top of the rankings for this year, yes. In the long term, maybe not, but if the Lakers can win the championship this year, he’ll have the surgery next summer, opt out, and then return with a 7 year deal at about 16-17 million a year, allowing the Lakers to either spend some money on Odom (if they want to keep him) OR sign someone else in the 8-10 million a year range if available. 09 and 10 are going to be absolutely insanely stacked with free agents, so the Lakers basically have 2 seasons to dominate before a possible rival Super Team Of Extraordinary Ballers gets assembled.

  • lakers2000

    Kobe’s shooting percentage was clearly affected from this. I was hoping he would get this fixed and return with a vengeance. I hope he has made the right decision and will not have to miss time later to eventually obtain this surgery after all. Go Lakers!!! Bynum for most improved and Lakers being 2009 Champs!!!

  • BEC

    Kobe made the right decision and not getting the surgery.

    His game isn’t really hurt by the injury. His shot is still fine and this team doesn’t need more offense anyway, Kobe doesn’t need to go 30+, especially with Bynum back.

    This is the RIGHT decision and the smart move.
    It’s not like the injury is going to get worse, so no big deal, his shot is still good.

    This teams goal is a title and EVERY single game counts. Especially with the lakers first month where kobe would likely miss is a tough month, with 10+ out of the 15 are playoff teams.

    Whether you think Kobe trust this team can hold fort with him missing a month or two of regular season doesn’t matter. They can make the playoffs with him missing the first month or two easy, but making the playoffs isn’t what this team needs, getting top spot in west isn’t what they need either. What they need to happen is getting the best record in the entire NBA.

    Home court advantage in the finals against the Celtics is going to be huge. Lets face it Celtics are going back to the finals easy. Say what you want about their age but theres still no team in the east that can match them. The Celtics are going to win 60+ games im almost sure of it, especially since theyre in the east, if they’re healthy, its done. And I really doubt if Kobe misses a month or two of the regular season that they can match the celtics wins. Thats why its a good decision for him to pass, they can easily get a better record than the celtics, if kobe doesn’t miss a month or two of games.

    Id rather have Kobe with the injury and home court advantage against the Celtics than Kobe have surgery miss a month or two and not have home court advantage. Kobe still plays great with so its better that he passed.

  • T-Dub

    Leave him the f@ck alone people. This man has been doing this for 12 years. Its how he makes his living. How can some of you arm chair basketball players criticize him for his decision? I would think at 30 yrs of age and 12 years in the league, he would know what he’s capable of and whats best for him! How would you feel if people criticized the decisions you make for your career when you’ve been doing it for 20-25yrs. Thats equivalent to 12 basketball years.

  • Michael_23

    How many times doctors say recovering/healing from an injury will take X amount of time? As we all know the past few seasons returning dates for players, especially Laker players are always set back.

    Kobe’s doctors said 6 weeks to heal, one said 12 weeks. He cannot gamble with that kind of time leading into the season. As we all know, we cannot judge a team of how good they are when their star players are injured. If we had a strong Karl Malone in 04 maybe we could have that title. If we have a healed Bynum last June we may have gotten that title too, these players are difference makers and we can’t afford to lose Kobe. If Kobe is capable of playing at a high level, I am with his decision.

  • Zen Master

    I don’t get why people think his injury is one that can severely affect his game. If he can play, dunk, and shoot like normal, or even better than before the injury, then his pinky’s probably not hurting/bothering him anymore! Don’t take it for more than what it is. Cuz if it really is painful, he wouldn’t play. On the other hand, let’s imagine he had something like a bruised rib, that shouldn’t affect him much. He would not have been able to perform well if his pinky was in pain. Conclusion? It doesn’t hurt.

  • Mike KB24

    He is making the best choice for him and his team Mates.He will be more effective and in the long run he will be MVP calliber again

  • ab4sure

    The question to ask is it best for the team? He could have missed 10-12 games the beginning of the season and been totally healthy for the rest of the season not to mention he needed a longer break with his olympic basketball. Or he can play with his finger and not get the rest he needs. He is turning 30 and not as young as he once was. I think PJ would say get the surgery but Kobe is stubborn as we all know. IS HE REALLY THINKING OF HIS TEAM WHEN HE AVOIDS THE SURGERY NOW? If i am Bowen or posey at the end of the season I will slap that finger everytime kobe goes up for a jumpshot.