Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will not play again this season after admitting defeat in his battle to return from a fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, according to ESPN.
Bryant has been sidelined since December 19 after suffering the problem in the last setback of a miserable campaign, which has seen the five-time NBA champion play just six games following a torn Achilles last season.
The 35-year-old was adamant as early as last month that he would feature again for the Lakers before the campaign closed, despite all hopes of a late run for the play-offs extinguishing long ago.
ESPNLosAngeles.com have today revealed that his efforts have been in vain, with team physician Steve Lombardo ready to move a scheduled examination forward from Friday to this afternoon thanks to a negative future outlook.
Lombardo will have the final say but the Lakers are not expected to take any chances with the franchise veteran, who was handed a $48.5m two-year contract extension last November despite persistent injury problems.
Both Bryant and LA will now turn their attention to next season, in the hope of rebuilding and proving their play-off credentials once again.