Kobe Bryant Worried About His Basketball Future Last Year Due to Arthritic Knee

by May 02, 2012

Kobe Bryant opened up about his fears after last season’s humiliating Playoff sweep at the hands of the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, during which he could barely move due to serious knee trouble. After undergoing some innovative treatments in Germany for the joint, Bryant is playing this year with a renewed sense of dominance, and once again eyeing another NBA championship. From Yahoo! Sports: “Kobe Bryant’s head bobbed and nodded over and over. Between the locker room and the loading dock inside Staples Center on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers star had been asked to rewind his mind back to the end in Dallas a season ago, back to the darkness of a defeat that left him fearing finality. Eyes closed tightly, Bryant repeated the words, ‘Yes … Yes … Yes …’ Finally, Bryant let out a long sigh and insisted, ‘I wondered how I was ever going to play basketball again.’ His arthritic knee had gone bone on bone, making every step an excruciating exercise. Bryant felt like the end was creeping closer. He couldn’t practice and couldn’t move with authority on the floor. ‘There were a lot of thoughts, a lot of self-evaluating going on, wondering, how can I ever be effective again? How am I going to play despite this knee? I couldn’t move. It was just so painful. There was nothing I could do. But now I feel brand new, man.’ The solution had come with blood-platelet therapy in Germany, a doctor who repaired the knee with a procedure that has athletes now flocking overseas. The pain is gone, the movement is back, and Bryant’s 38 points in a 104-100 Game 2 victory over the Denver Nuggets resembled something straight out of the time capsule. He was devastating in the low post because the strength of that knee again allows him to hold off defenders. He was deadeye on the perimeter and responsive of the need to play through Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol on the inside. […] ‘Nothing could materialize for us last year. I couldn’t be around my guys, couldn’t practice with them,’ Bryant said. ‘And my personality could not rub off on the team. I could not give them what I’ve been giving them for the last two months.’ Rest assured, Bryant has watched one star after another go down in these playoffs, and it leaves him grateful, gratified for the chance to play. ‘Right now, I have the opportunity to compete again,’ he said. ‘Last year, I felt like I was on one leg.’ And it still bothers him because Bryant has to come to understand he’s running out of time – his knee won’t stay strong forever. He closed his eyes in the bowels of the Staples Center late Tuesday and hit the rewind button back to the uncertainty, the unnerving end in Dallas last spring. Something else still stays with him, still bothers him, and probably always will. ‘I couldn’t give Phil [Jackson] all of me, and I couldn’t give it to my teammates either,’ Bryant said. ‘But now, it’s like, ‘Let’s see. I’m here. I’m 100 percent. I want to see what’s what.'”