Rest was supposed to be the answer.
Kobe just had dead legs, nothing that a little time off couldn’t cure.
He was supposed to play Sunday — against a marquee match up in Brandon Roy — and dominate like we are used to seeing ‘The Black Mamba’ do.
He looked old, slow, and stiff.
Mark Jackson said that Kobe needed more rest; that the Lakers should shut him down for the season.
I agree. Phil Jackson definitely need to shut down Kobe.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s going to help.
What I saw from Kobe on Sunday, and what I’ve been seeing since he went 12-21 against the Atlanta Hawks, is a hurt Kobe Bryant.
Kobe’s legs aren’t dead, his finger isn’t bothering him anymore than it has this season, his KNEE is hurt — and I don’t think it’s going to get better.
Besides the fact that he was moving around the court without any conviction, (no real aggressive cuts to get open, jogging out to close out on shooters).
In the end. there were three plays in particular that really bothered me…
2. Kobe is trying to lock in on defense. He tries to turn and run with a defender and AGAIN his knee seems like it gives out and he stumbles.
3. Kobe is trying to run out after a missed Blazers shot only, instead of a rebound for the Lakers, the Blazers gets the offensive board and Kobe has to quickly get back. Normally he would plant hard and quickly get back into the picture, but this time, he sort of jumps to stop so he doesn’t have to really plant and drive.
There were also numerous times, when it just looked like Kobe was holding back — scared to really attack the defender or open up.
Now you’re probably saying: “If Kobe’s knee is hurt, then when did the injury occur?”
It happened against the Atlanta Hawks, when he allegedly tweaked his ankle. I spent an hour looking for a replay of this injury, but I came up with nothing.
However, when I first saw it, I my initial reaction was, “Damn, Kobe hurt his knee.”
I was relieved to hear that it was only an ankle, but my fears came storming back when Kobe showed up with a massive wrap, under his purple knee sleeve, the next game against the Utah Jazz.
Tell me something Laker fans, when a player hurts his “ankle” does he show up next game with a wrap on his knee?
Call it irony if you will, but this is when Kobe’s legs allegedly got tired, and his shooting slump began.
You know what all of this reminds me of? It reminds me of Kevin Garnett last year, when his knee buckled after he came down from a dunk.
The Boston Celtics sat him down hoping it was just a hyperextension, or some kind of small sprain, but it ended up being a season ending injury (a torn popliteus tendon) that required surgery.
However, while the Celtics hoped it would get better with rest, they kept the league and the fans, in a cloud of dust as to what was really bothering Garnett. Remember that they set multiple time tables for his return that never happened.
This sounds eerily similar to what we’re hearing about our Kobe.
First, he tweaked his ankle. Then his legs were tired, because he needed rest. Over the weekend, his knee was swelling up. Today, Sportscenter reported that Kobe is out the last two games, because his finger is bothering him… again.
Unfortunately, the cure for all of the above is a lot of rest.
A lot of rest requires a lot of time, and with the playoffs starting the time for rest is gone.
Perhaps Phil shouldn’t have played Kobe 38.8 minutes a game this season.
Or perhaps Kobe should’ve took the initiative, and sat his own damn self down earlier in the season, when all of these injuries were starting to mount.
Maybe I’m just being a paranoid Laker fan, who sees the juggernaut of Cleveland approaching, and is scared about our chances of repeating.
I’m praying that I’m wrong, and that all that Kobe needs is rest.
Because if I’m not.. it was nice knowing the ’09-’10 Lakers’ season.