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Friday, May 27th, 2011 at 9:30 am  |  27 responses

Lakers Trainer Believes Kobe Bryant’s Knee Will Get Stronger


Kobe’s well-publicized knee issues are ones Gary Vitti, the Lakers’ long-time trainer, thinks can be “dealt with” heading into next season (make sure to read the whole thing, from the team’s website): “Kobe Bryant said in his exit interview that he wasn’t able to reach his physical peak this past season since he came into the season off knee surgery, couldn’t strength train how he would have like to, and had to build up strength despite not really practicing. How did that affect his season? Vitti: ‘Just logically it’s going to affect anyone that doesn’t participate in training camp. It all starts there. Coming into camp, we’re still doing rehab, so Kobe was behind all the time and could never really catch up, which has something to do with the surgery, something to do with the sheer miles of wear and tear and the attrition the game has on him. So when we do look at an entire season, we look at how what what we’re doing in October and how that will affect the player in February, March, April and so on. There’s no exact science to it, but it’s about having a feel for an NBA season and that player … and I’ve had Kobe since he was 17. He and I operate on another plane together where there’s trust, and he knows his body quite well, so through that we decided we had to hold him back from practices to look at the longer term. We didn’t want to leave what he had on the practice floor, so we could have it for games. And of course that was not ideal.’ Bryant said there’s ‘another level’ he can reach physically, the one we’re so accustomed to seeing where he creates separation from defenders and so on. So the question is, how does his having a chance to come in healthier balance out with the attrition you mentioned? Vitti: ‘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.’ Can he be stronger if those things are followed the right way? Vitti: ‘Yes, I do think he has more progression there, but structurally there are some issues that cannot be reversed, but can be dealt with. 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.’”

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  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Kobe gettin some well deserved rest and stregnth training on that knee. Come take us Laker fans back to 08-09. O6 is askin too much lol

  • tRay

    Lol yeah Tae that’s asking too much I’ll actually settle for 07-08 Kobe. If there is a God.

  • http://nba.com gp23

    I want to see ’06 Kobe again. He was unreal, hittin’ 50s, 60s, even the odd 81 with ease. But I guess he is a little less athletic now, and if he was playing like that, he wouldn’t get his ring.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    isn’t his knee like bone to bone, without a meniscus? is that fixable?

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Oh yea tRay, 07-08 Kobe was a beast too. That MVP season

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    My opinion but I believe 07-08 was Kobe’s best season of his career despite losing in tha finals. But boy 05-06 he could drop 50-60+ wit ease

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    Kobe still has a lot of fuel in the tank. Hope he’ll get healthy again and prove it.

  • tRay

    @airs yeah there really isn’t any such thing as getting better from that
    @Tae yeah that Kobe was monsterous lol

  • don

    science can only delay age for so long…

  • Mike From Spain

    I know that there is a lot of BS in the internet, but once I read that there was a clinical study that said that perception of pain in arthritis patients was linked to strength training for that joint. So people with arthritic knees got less pain when they had followed a prescribed program of exercise… it’s hard to control and measure that though. All I’m saying is that Kobe’s work in the weight room could pay off and get that knee a bit better. Not sure though…

  • rich

    fix his finger wo he can actually shot from the arc like daymn

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    “Bryant said there’s ‘another level’ he can reach physically” sounds Super Saiyan to me. I’m the only nerd? Ok… And @Airs, he is, but so was Brandon Roy, although he has quite a few years on Kobe.

  • Yesse

    I wish my knee would get stronger, so i could start dunking on people.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    i wonder if there’s any procedure to replace a worn down meniscus, although i’d imagine it to be extremely uncomfortable. maybe not as uncomfortable as bone to bone though.

  • the Dude

    He would have to change his name to Steve Austin to play like he used to … wouldn’t put it past him.

  • jay

    kb will be a beast next year. he gets some rest..will obviously train but will be healthy for training camp! no usa ball this year…yeah a lot of miles but kb will be a beast next year….he says he was no where near where he needed to be but those dunks vs okc was at the end of the season and he was gased and still got up! damn!

  • http://slamonline Tae

    I strongly believe before he hangs it up, it might not be this upcoming season but he is gonna put up another huge game past 50 before he’s done

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    1982 you’re not the only nerd…kobe might go ssj3 next year lol

  • flow85

    Stick a fork in him. It’s over just deal wit it.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Right, but how about his jaw?

  • SikhWitIt

    His knee’s not going to be the problem…

  • Jake

    Get rid of gasol, artest, bench fish (its time) and get a nasty 3 point shooter….it will be fine. They never should have let trevor ho though sigh.

  • Blue

    And in comes Dwight Howard to support KB.

  • http://twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    WE WILL REBUILD HIM!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9B412oN9MA EJ

    Scoring title next year? With Mike Brown it is possible.

  • mike

    Has he found the fountain of youth? Not happening.

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    he’s got little stuff in between his kneecap and the bone. not like broy where it’s bone on bone in the joint. not an expert on this but a much better situation I think. Still he probably should play more like Jordan doing fadeaways from the top of the key. Or really, that’s what Dirk’s been doing with his one legged standing fadeaway too.

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