BY THE NUMBERS:
59: More games missed this season due to injury (76) than in any previous season, as Bryant played in only six games in 2013-14, his previous low of 65 coming in 2003-04.
592: Points shy of Michael Jordan (32,292), with 31,700, which Bryant could surpass in about 23 games based on his career average of 25.5 points.
54,208: Combined regular season (45,567) and playoff (8,641) minutes played by Bryant, more than all but four other players in NBA history: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 66,297; Karl Malone: 62,759; Jason Kidd: 56,199; Wilt Chamberlain: 55,418.
Well, that wasn’t very fun. Bryant barely took the floor in 2013-14 due to his recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon and, just six games into his December return, a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his left knee that ultimately put him out for the rest of the season. Bryant’s injuries were perhaps the biggest contributing factor to the worst season in Lakers history from a win/loss perspective (27-55), and it didn’t help that his teammates missed a collective 243 more games to injury and illness on top of his own 76. Bryant played a total of only 177 minutes on the season, so you can throw out his small-sample-size numbers of 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 boards with 1.2 steals. He’d just begun to look more like himself in his sixth and final game on Dec. 17, a Lakers win at Memphis. For the optimists – which includes Kobe himself – the good news is that Bryant was medically cleared to return to the court on April 21, and has thus already begun a full five months of preparation ahead of October’s training camp. Bryant turns 36 in August, but will have had more time to build his body up for a NBA season than ever before in his career.
IN HIS WORDS: