NBA / Jun 29, 2010 / 12:14 pm

The Cost of Kobe’s 5th Ring

Kobe Bryant (photo. Nike)

Kobe Bryant played the majority of the last few years with finger problems. Two years ago, he suffered ligament damage in his right pinkie. Last year, it was more major: multiple fractures in his right index finger.

There was no real cause for concern, however — he just played through the pain and would presumably get it fixed in the offseason. Bryant did that in 2008 after his run to an Olympic Gold Medal, and according to an ESPN report, Kobe said he’ll likely have surgery on his finger after he got back from watching the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

“I’m going to talk with our staff here and Mitch (Kupchak) as well and come up with a time line to take care of some of the injuries that have been nagging me and things we need to address,” Bryant said. “We’ll do that before I leave.”

But now, the Orange County Register is reporting there might be some issues:

The middle knuckle on that critical finger on Bryant’s shooting hand is so debilitated by arthritis after the past season of misuse and overuse that there may be no real way to fix it. Bryant will consult with specialists in July to figure out his options, but arthritis is not a problem that can just be cleaned up with arthroscopic surgery or wished away with a little rest. Bryant suffered an avulsion fracture in two places near the tip of the finger on Dec. 11 as he tried to field a low Jordan Farmar pass. Bryant kept playing despite a projection of needing at least six weeks to heal — and he played pretty well. … Cartilage damage in a finger joint simply isn’t easily fixed because there is so little cartilage with which to work. For Bryant’s purposes of shooting and handling a basketball, fusing the joint is hardly a viable option.

From what we are hearing, it doesn’t sound like Bryant plans on getting surgery on his right knee. After having the knee drained early in L.A.’s playoff run, Bryant described it as “fine.” But, that is the same knee that has been surgically repaired twice.

While fingers are different from knees or the back — a player can normally work through the pain of a digit — the Lakers’ star is turning 32 in August and recently crossed the dreaded 1,000 games-played mark. That number (1,021) isn’t even counting the 198 playoff games he has played. Do all of these nagging body parts — the fingers, a twice-repaired knee and the back — take a toll?

Possibly. But, the one thing we do know as fact: you never doubt Kobe.

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  • Promoman

    Kobe is always tweaking his workouts to be more efficient and he’s still hungry & motivated. He’ll be in shape by training camp guaranteed.

  • control

    Maybe if LA had a real point guard, Kobe wouldn’t have to be fielding low passes and fucking his shit up.

    Kobe should have put his pride aside and taken care of his business instead of trying to prove how tough he is.

  • sh!tfaced

    So Kobe wears his 5 rings on his non-shooting hand. Not a problem…

  • Chilirey

    “Maybe if LA had a real point guard, Kobe wouldn’t have to be fielding low passes and fucking his shit up.”


    ANYWAYS…Kobe, take the preseason off, you deserve it….

  • Celts Fan

    @Control – We may have a different champ if he had. 6 weeks off probably means they fall to the middle of the West and game 7’s at The Garden instead of Staples.

  • SJ

    LA will need another scoring option next season and Kobe will have to pass down low to Pau more. This is pretty serious and I’m sure everyone saw it coming. They could have given him some rest and dropped to 4th or 5th seed. Do you think the Lakers could have won vs Boston without home court advantage?

  • control

    Celts Fan

    Boston only had 50 wins, I don’t think the Lakers were dropping below Portland (who also had 50 wins) regardless of if Kobe took a break or not. I doubt there would be a 7 win drop just because of Kobe taking a break, infact during that stretch, Kobe was dropping 20 on 20 shots and 30 on 30 shot games (and probably cost the Lakers two or three games).

  • Celts Fan

    @Control – so you don’t think an injury that woulda cost him 6 weeks would have made a 7 win difference? Losing the best player in the league won’t cost you 1 game a week? Seriously???

  • LakeShow84

    Dont matter cuz dude will sacrifice his left testicle for his 6th ring and possibly an arm for his 7th..

    Quote me..

  • control

    Celts Fan

    I didn’t say he should have surgery and fix everything up, but taking 7-10 games off would have prevented some of the issues he has now. Taking 20 games off wouldn’t have made a 7 win difference. Even without Kobe, LA is a pretty solid team…

  • karizmatic

    Kobe has probably got two more really effective years left in him, after that it’s a crap shoot.

  • Axion

    @ Control

    Real Point Guard? do you even know how the triangle works? and that D Fish has five rings working it?

  • Celts Fan

    @Lakeshow – you’re not wrong man. Too bad he wouldn’t sacrifice his ego or he’d already be at like 8 w/ Shaq.

    @Control – aight. misunderstood you.

  • Axion

    Eight with Shaq? That guy can’t even run anymore, he had one left and it went to D Wade, he and KG should retire together

  • control


    Do the Lakers have a top 5, 10 or 15 point guard? Fisher ain’t better than 50% of the other starting guards in the league. Rings and Triangle aside, my statement is 100% correct.

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/703154723/the-soulchorea-project?pos=1 Kermit The Washington

    Dang you Jordan Farmar…DANNNG YOUUU!! But yeah, Kobe seems like he’s so obsessive with this sport that he’s willing to sacrifice his mobility after age 40, for just a few more years of dominance.

  • Legend 33

    Don’t matter how healthy Kobe is not next year, because when LeBron, DWade and Bosh join forces in Miami, I see the Heat winning the chip for the next 6 years.

  • Legend 33

    i meant: is or not next year…

  • LakeShow84

    @ Legend 33

    Ill take comfort in the fact that it would take a whole bunch of superstars admitting they couldnt do it on they own and making a super team to stop us..

    And even still we a defensive team.. We got 2 perimeter lock down corners and enough size in the paint to deal with a Bosh or Amare..

    Another 7 game series no doubt and dont forget who the best closer in the game is..

  • LakeShow84

    @ CeltsFan

    Considering Kobe is already top 10 all-time i’d say its a shame Shaq couldnt curb his ego for the long haul.. im 26 and even i know my little brothers need space to operate in life.. Just the way it is for young up and comers.. cant keep dude under ur wing forever..

    But just out of curiosity who was the first one to start whining to the media?? Hmmmmmm you wouldve thought it was the youngster right??? f#$k Shaq..

    Couldve been the greatest if he learned how to shoot FT’s.. LAZY and an ego maniac.. Anyone who whines about the nickname “Superman” clearly got issues.. Ask D-Wade, Howard, Nash and Kobe how they feel about Shaquille O’Neal..

  • Axion


    name one guard in the past 50 years who has hit shots as big as d fish at key moments…..distributing the ball with pizazz is ala Chris Paul and D Will is nice but it dont mean shit.

  • control


    Sorry, didn’t know I was talking to a relative of DFish…probably not going to sway you at all in anyway. One guard who has hit big shots: MJ. One guard on Fish’s team who has hit big shots: Kobe.

    If Fish played decent defense, those shots he makes wouldn’t be “big shots” they would just be “shots” because the game would already be in the bag.

    Not sure if you can really be reasoned with, or if you really know anything about basketball despite your asking about playin the triangle, because if you think that distributing the basketball like CP or DW means shit, then you probably only really know 1on1. You probably think Allen Iverson is one of the best point guards in history or something, who knows.

  • Celts Fan

    Nash loves him. He gave him a production credit. that makes up for everything, right? Right???

  • Axion


    Point Guard. MJ and Kobe are not point guards. Go watch soccer maybe you can understand that sport.

  • control


    “name one guard in the past 50 years” direct quote from you…if you want me to name a point guard, ask for it next time.

  • Axion


    I assumed because you started the thread with your ignorant stated that clearly stated “point guard” that you might have the mental stamina to keep up and comprehend what is being talked about, like when you read an article in the newspaper and the first line refers to a guy by the name of Mr. Goof Ball (such as yourself) and then later in the article they are able to print just an abbreviated version of the subject such as Ball goes on to say “I have made a complete ass of myself”.

  • yentron

    @ axion
    you’re retarded. gary payton. stockton. magic. dfish is the weak link on the lakers and everyone knows it. really, you trying to say cp3 and dwill aren’t on par with fisher? really??? put either of them on the lakers and los angeles wins 16 straight playoff games.

  • Axion

    Derek Fisher is the best point guard who has ever lived

  • Nyla

    Fisher is not the best point guard in the league,Heck 50% of the starting point guards in the league are better. But Fish understands the triangle, is the other leader on the team apart from Kobe and maybe is the true leader since Kobe admits he is the only one he really listens to. You forget that he is also composed enough to make plays when nothing else is working like in this years finals or against orlando last year. It would be a mistake to let him go especially if Phil retires.

  • LoBezn0

    Heck, for all we know he’d be a purely left-handed player when the regular season comes. He’d work hard to do just that if he had to.

  • http://kapatid7799@yahoo.com bucks fan

    legend 33

    dont be doubting the lakers, even if LBJ, wade, bosh team up you forget the lakers got Kobe, Pau, bynum, lamar, and artest tru warrior can D up LBJ, wade or bosh. some dudes will just quit on there team if the cought a flu

    lakers are warriors, kobe will play even if injurd that shows his respect for the fans of LAL and the love for the game. same w/bynum, he was injurd all the time during the playoffs but that just shows the lakers a willing to do anyting to win. and we laker fans are guna live and die a laker. cant say the same for other teams.

  • OneZero

    his finger injury is totally forgotten in the playoffs and until the championship

    Lebron had elbow injury for 2-3 games(against Celts) and said that its not an excuse… but then said it bothers him

    I’m just saying..I am not a Lebron hater, but he needs to man up and shut his yap cause its embarrassing. Could’ve use some of Kobe’s silence to focus.

  • Lakers-vs-world

    Hey dont all think LA is doing nothing at the Free Agent time. There has been large talk and theres a News Page saying Sign and trade with Toronto Bosh for such packages that include Bynum, Odom, and other add ins from ither side including Jack ( a verteran Guard LA needs) itle be interesting, I dont know anyone who isint excited that is a basketball fan

  • sid

    If the Lakers sign a serviceable point guard LeBron, Wade, and Bosh can do whatever they want and they won’t beat LA. Maybe in a few years when LA’s 30 year olds turn 33 and 34 but not until then.

    And it’s pretty lame that these “great players” have to collude with each other to feel they need to win a championship. Funny, Cleveland always has a great team until the real season (the playoffs) start and I don’t think it will be any different with any team LeBron’s on.

  • steve_0

    Another angle on Kobe’s finger, is that he’s played since 08 with it busted. He probably fears that a repair attempt might through his shot off. Science and medicine is so advance these days there’s got to be something out their for him.

  • steven banks

    Kobe is the greatest laker ever hhe

  • steven banks

    People don’t give kobe bryant the credit he deserves he is the greatest player of this generation he will pass jordan when he retires let’s noy forget jordans record without pippen is a terrible 1-9 if he so great why is that his record without pippen kobe record without shaq is great been to 3 finals winning 2 pippen covered up a lot of jordan weaknesses that explains why jordan record without pippen is a horrible 1-9