Lakers fans may have to prepare for a Kobe Bryant-less remainder of the season after news that the franchise superstar suffered a torn rotator cuff during the team's recent match up against the New Orleans Pelicans.
MRI scan results returned the diagnosis late last night and there are fears that Bryant's latest injury could force the Lakers to shut him down for the rest of the 2014-15 NBA campaign.
Should medical staff decide Kobe requires surgery to resolve the issue then Bryant's season will be done before we've even reached February, and the noises coming out of the Lakers franchise do not appear good on that front.
Sources have told ESPN that there is a growing fear amongst the Lakers hierarchy that surgery will indeed be the necessary path to take.
The injury itself is something Kobe Bryant has been dealing with since before the season even began, but the future Hall of Famer aggravated the issue vs the Pelicans this week.
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Lakers head coach Byron Scott will be loathed to lose his best player for the season but with the team meandering along at the wrong end of the NBA, and with no serious hopes of playoff basketball, there seems little point in keeping an injured Bryant out on the court.
The veteran may have only a limited time left in the league as as such will undoubtedly want to be involved as much as possible, likewise Lakers fans will be desperate to see their hero as often as they can.
The reality though is that, with Kobe still likely to return next season, shutting him down now and allowing him to recover properly is the right thing to do should further tests prove the injury is as severe as predicted.
One negative though is the fact that the Lakers would be unable to replace Bryant should they shut him down with the injury-exception deadline having passed on Jan.15
The Lakers are set to make further comment on the situation later today but should Kobe Bryant be forced to go under the knife then it would appear to put pay to his All-Star chances too.
Bryant was yesterday confirmed as a starter for the Western Conference team but, as was the case last year, injury looks set to leave fans disappointed come tip-off in the marquee event.