Kobe Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school, but that was a long time ago. 1996 to be exact. He’ll be 33-years old in August and while he’s not ancient, he isn’t a little kid anymore either.
And he’s got a lot of basketball wear him since he’s been in the NBA for some 15 years. Last year, he entered the season coming off knee surgery and he felt like he never physically got caught up.
In an interview on the Los Angeles Lakers’ official website, head trainer Gary Vitti says there are some problems with his knee that can’t be fixed.
“Yes, I do think he has more progression there, but structurally there are some issues that cannot be reversed, but can be dealt with,” Vitti said when asked if he can be stronger if the proper steps are taken. “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.”
So what is Kobe’s problem exactly?
“His is an articulating cartilage problem,” Vitti continued. “The way I describe that to people is that if you look at the end of chicken bone where it’s nice and white, well, that’s not bone, it’s cartilage. Sort of like a Teflon surface that when two bones come together, that cartilage is there so that bones don’t rub on each other.
Now, the fact that it’s nice and white tells you it doesn’t have a good blood flow to it, and that means it cannot heal or regenerate. So, over time, as that cartilage wears away, you end up with osteoarthritis. Kobe doesn’t have an arthritic knee, but he has a knee that has some joint degeneration to it. His issues and his age are such that it eliminates some procedures, like microfracture and that type of things.
But he is a candidate for certain other things, and we know all the procedures all around the world that are available to him, and the appropriate decisions will be made, he’ll have the best care.”
He can spin it in any direction he likes, but this doesn’t sound promising. Kobe will still be a stud, but for how much longer? Degenerative knee conditions aren’t good.