Lakers Say Kobe Bryant Is Healthy, But Will Limit Minutes Next Season
After being cleared to return to basketball activities, following his recovery from a torn rotator cuff, the Los Angeles Lakers say Kobe Bryant is healthy, but will have a hard minutes cap this season.
Coach Byron Scott tells the Orange County Register that the limited minutes will help the NBA star avoid injury in what may be his final season, especially after his past three seasons were cut short.
"We've got to stick to the guns," said the coach. "If we agree on a certain amount of time, we're going to stick to it."
Last season, Kobe was limited to just 35 games, but played heavy minutes, which led to fatigue and him sitting out several games to rest before suffering a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
It's currently unclear what the minutes limit might be next season, and also, whether Bryant will sit out certain games of back-to-back sets.
"I know Kobe's a competitor and he's going to play as many minutes as you want him to play," Scott told the paper. "I'm also a competitor, so I want to win and I know having him on the court gives me the best opportunity to win."
Kobe has spent nearly the past nine months rehabbing his shoulder. He's expected to participate in the team's training camp late this month in Hawaii.
He's entering his 20th season with the Lakers and the final year of his contract with the team, during which he'll be paid a league-high $25 million. "If this is his last year," Scott said, "I want him to go out standing. I don't want him to go out hurt."