Evaluating Kobe Bryant’s Options in Wake of Latest Devastating Injury

SAN ANTONIO — When Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon, he memorably went in for surgery the very next day.

He is not ready to be that certain this time around, even though the options aside from surgery on his torn rotator cuff are pretty undesirable.

1. Play with it torn.

Those of you thinking that it is not even an option don’t know the way this guy thinks.

The tear is too significant to believe it will heal in a meaningful way without surgery. And the tear is not in Bryant’s non-shooting shoulder, just like it wasn't for his friend Carmelo Anthony, who opted against rotator cuff surgery in 2013.

But Bryant has real faith in his ability to navigate pain. If there are ways for Bryant to manage that somewhat, it might make sense if Bryant plans to play only one more season. There is an obvious upside to avoiding surgery in your dominant arm and the six-month rehab, especially after so much rehab grind in recent years.

2. Leave it torn…and retire now.

Besides turning down a league-high $25 million salary, Bryant would be going out on terms dictated by misfortune and injury. Unlikely.

Which brings us back to the option of surgery.

3. Have surgery and try to return for the start of next season.

Bryant has not accepted that surgery is clearly the right decision, even though he is unlikely to be presented with any new options upon meeting with Neal ElAttrache on Monday, the surgeon who put Bryant’s Achilles back together in 2013. (ElAttrache, the Los Angeles Dodgers physician, also repaired the rotator cuffs of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone on the same day, according to the Los Angeles Times).

Bryant might even take more time to ponder his decision after talking to ElAttrache. There are other issues at work in this, from playing catch with his softball-playing daughters to wheth...

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