With only 33 games left in the 2015-16 NBA regular season for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant’s playing career is quickly coming to an end. Although Bryant is intent on playing as many games as possible in the final stretch, the Lakers superstar has struggled to get back on the floor with a persistent soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
On Sunday, the Lakers will host the Charlotte Hornets with Bryant potentially sitting out for the third time in the last four games. Bryant’s sore shoulder has head coach Byron Scott uncertain about his status. Coach Scott also let it be known that Kobe’s shoulder issue will be an ongoing problem for the rest of the season via Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
Kobe's shoulder soreness is "going to be ongoing" the final 2.5 months of his career, Byron said. And yes, only 2.5 months left.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 31, 2016
Bryant has played more than 27 minutes in the last three games he’s been on the floor for the Lakers. It seems as though Kobe is starting to wind down with the end of his career in the NBA drawing near.
Since Jan. 1, Bryant has played in only 10 games while cracking double digits five times in that span. Kobe hasn’t scored more than 10 points since putting up 15 against the division rival Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.
Bryant is averaging 24.9 minutes per game during the month of January, and that number may continue to drop in the final three months of the regular season. Kobe is determined to play in the regular-season finale on April 13 against the Utah Jazz and will do whatever is necessary to make that happen whether it’s sitting out or playing fewer minutes moving forward.