After seeking numerous opinions from hand specialists, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has decided to forgo surgery on his right pinkie. Fresh off his Olympic Gold Medal performance in Beijing, Bryant expressed that he did not want to miss any time on the court when Lakers training camp opens later this month.
"I have always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries. Thatss really just part of the game. When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery. What it really came down to for me is that I just didn't want to miss any time 'punching the clock' for the Lakers, given all we are trying to accomplish as a team this NBA season. I am just really excited and looking forward to being there with the guys when camp opens in a few weeks. That is a real bonding process and if I can avoid being on the sidelines for that, God willing, I will," said Bryant.
Bryant tore a ligament in his right pinkie in a February 5, 2008 game against the Nets, and has been a surgery candidate ever since. Many thought immediate surgery would give him enough time to recover before the playoffs, but the Lakers at that point were coping with a major injury to Andrew Bynum, and it seemed the team could be headed in the wrong direction.
Bryant played through the injury, all the way to the NBA Finals.
Then he once again skipped surgery as the off-season began, choosing instead to focus on the Olympics, after which, it had long been assumed, he would finally have surgery on his hand.
Now I find myself wondering when he'll ever have surgery, if not now.
UPDATE: A look at his statistics before and after the injury reveal -- almost no difference at all.