Projecting What Kind of Star Kobe Bryant Will Return As After Injury

Kobe Bryant’s most recent injury leaves the basketball world to ponder what kind of star he will look like once he returns.

The future Hall of Fame 2-guard ruptured his Achilles late in the 2012-13 season and missed the playoffs. He was sidelined during the early portion of this 2013-14 campaign and eventually made his return to the lineup just about a month into the season.

Six games into his return, Bryant fractured the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. The Lakers’ all-time leading scorer will be shelved for four to six weeks. This latest setback might simply be a freak injury or perhaps a sign of things to come.

That leaves us with a few possibilities to consider when projecting the remainder of Bryant’s career.


He’s still Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has dealt with an assortment of injuries throughout his career, and yet the former league MVP has consistently rushed back to the lineup and adjusted his game accordingly.

For instance, during the 2003-04 campaign,’s Marc Stein offered this observation of Bryant:

Kobe, remember, shouldn't even be playing, at least not if I had a vote. As good as he's getting with that left hand, and even though his banged-up shoulder is expertly wrapped up every night by the veteran touch of uber-trainer Gary Vitti, it's still my feeling that Kobe is back in the lineup way too soon and increasing the risk of another setback ... although I can't deny it was impressive to see video of No. 8 swishing a couple half-court shots with his left hand to make an Israeli reporter friend of mine crank out 400 push-ups for betting against him.

This has practically become the norm with Bryant. He has become an urban legend of sorts, a creature with mythical healing powers. The four-time All-Star Game MVP has created a standard that few will ever match given his dedication to his...

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