Friday, Kobe Bryant told the New York Post he has "very little cartilage under my right knee cap. It's almost bone on bone."
The revelation, as it were, doesn't really change things in the short run for Kobe and the Lakers- he was "almost bone-on-bone" last week, too, and has played pretty well- and Bryant, in Phil Jackson's words, "manages it very well." Friday, he went for a very efficient 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting, plus four assists. "Do I look worried?" Kobe said after the game, when asked if Lakers fans should be concerned. (For the record, he didn't.)
Still, the human body is a complicated piece of machinery, and understanding what's going on inside Kobe's knee isn't as easy as looking up "knee" on Wikipedia. To sort out the short and long term implications of yesterday's news, click on this handy interview with Dr. Michael Kaplan, ESPN Medical Analyst, from Friday's Mason and Ireland Show in 710 ESPN. He's not Kobe's doctor, but breaks down the basic anatomy, talks about treatments, and what it means for Bryant down the road. Long term, it's fairly grim. "This is something that is chronic, and will bother him more in the future rather than less," he said. "This is not something you can beat. We don't have a way to fix, definitively, arthritis. And some point later in life, he's probably going to need some sort of replacement surgery."
Helpful stuff, in a handy four minute package.