Bryant’s recovery process has been slower than expected.
The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly expected to declare that star guard Kobe Bryant will be ruled out for the rest of the season as he continues his rehabilitation on a knee injury.
With just 18 games remaining in the regular season and the Lakers out of playoff contention, the franchise are on the verge of officially postponing the 35-year-old’s comeback until next season.
It would arguably be the right decision from management considering that the Lakers have little to play for this year and the rest could serve Bryant well ahead of a full pre-season schedule before returning to competitive action next year.
The Lakers are now only realistically playing to avoid finishing bottom of the Western Conference at this point, and with a strong Draft pick and future cap space to attack the free agency market in 2015, they will be looking to the future as they eye building another competitive roster.
According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, the announcement could come later this week as per team sources, as Bryant will not accompany his teammates on trips to Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Initially, the recovery period was set at six weeks but with Bryant recently conceding during the All-Star break that he was frustrated with the slow progression, he will be expected to miss the final 17 weeks of the season.
While there is a temptation to bring him back this campaign in order for him to at least regain his rhythm and conditioning, the risk of suffering a setback or other injury could be deemed too great by the organisation, and therefore Bryant will likely sit until the end of the season.