Kobe Bryant Injures Shoulder: What Latest Ding Means for Fading Legend

Kobe Bryant is scheduled for an MRI on his right shoulder Thursday after he injured it during the Los Angeles Lakers' 96-80 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes.

Bryant's toughness, unlike his health, is not in doubt. After converting a two-handed dunk in the third quarter on Wednesday, he grabbed at his shoulder and went to the bench. When he returned with five minutes left in the game, he was clearly not at 100 percent—namely because he was playing left-handed.

"Obviously after I saw that everything he did was with the left hand, then I knew then, let's get him out of there," Lakers head coach Scott said, via Baxter.

The Lakers were already down 88-75 when Bryant re-entered the game, and the Pelicans outscored Los Angeles 27-12 in the fourth to cruise to victory. Bryant finished with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

After the game, Kobe downplayed the injury, according to the Lakers' Twitter account:

Kobe: “I’ve played with a torn labrum, so I’m not too concerned.“ Says it’s too early to get worried about this being a long term injury.

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 22, 2015 Bryant managed to play the first 27 games this season but sat out three straight contests in late December with what amounts to full-body soreness. Bill Oram of the Orange County Register wrote on Dec. 26: "Among those Bryant listed as sore: his knees, and his Achilles tendons—'Both of them,' he clarified. His back is tight, his metatarsals—physiology gibberish for foot bones—are, too."

At that point, Scott suggested Bryant's playing time would be handled on a "game-by-game basis" going forward, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News. Prior to Wednesday's game in New Orleans, Kobe took two games off to make sure he was physically ready.

Seeing Kobe pla...

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