Kobe Bryant’s Setback Dispels the Notion of Superhumans in the NBA

Kobe Bryant is human after all. We think.

His latest setback, a fracture on December 17 of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee while playing against the Memphis Grizzlies, has called into question the Mamba's capacity to remain a high-powered superstar in the NBA after 18 long, hard, grueling years with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant is out for six weeks as he recovers from this latest injury. Coming just six games into his return after an eight-month rehab of his torn Achilles, the fractured knee on the same right leg would seem to indicate a correlation between the two.

And a very human condition otherwise known as aging.

Fans and adversaries alike are rooting for Bryant to come back healthy and give us more of what we've come to expect for almost two decades.  While filled with too many turnovers, Bryant's six games provided a glimmer of hope, as he scored 20-plus points in three contests and dished out 13 assists in 23 minutes in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In retrospect, Bryant's play after such a long layoff was remarkable even for him.

On the night he injured the knee, Bryant was on the floor for 33 minutes, scoring 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal.  He continued to play even after the injury.  The MRI later revealed a break in the bone, prompting Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni to just shake his head and lament over the loss of Kobe yet again.

Via Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times: "You hate it for Kobe, he's worked so hard getting back.  He was coming on.  His shot percentage kept getting better and his turnovers kept getting less."

While no surgery was required, the treatment for such an injury is rest.  But asking Kobe Bryant to rest is like trying to restrain the bulls from running through the streets of Pamplona.

Just two week...

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