Kobe Returns to Court for First Time Since Shoulder Injury


Kobe Bryant posted a quality selfie on Instagram that showed him in the gym for the first time since injuring his right shoulder on Jan. 21, 2015 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Bryant’s season ended early for the second straight season and had to have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.

The “Black Mamba” injured his shoulder following a driving two-handed dunk in the third quarter and shot left-handed for the rest of the game.

First day back on the court shooting! Bout damn time!! #shoulderrecovery #20thseason @drinkbodyarmor #lakers.”

With the spark of this update from Bryant himself, what exactly can we expect from “Vino” in his 20th season for the Los Angeles Lakers?

There are three separate things to look for in determining how the bulk of the season will play out for Bryant. The three specific questions are as follows:

  • Will Bryant play shooting guard or small forward?
  • Will this season showcase Bryant scoring at a high clip or the facilitator that Bryant has recently adopted?
  • How much explosive ability does Bryant have left?

The first note is if Bryant will play shooting guard or small forward. Now this may seem like just a small position change but converting to small forward should help Bryant’s ability within the offense.

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Normally the shooting guard would be on the strong-side in most situations on offense.

If Bryant is playing small forward, he’ll be able to choose his spots, get in more consistent post-ups on the baseline, and move around the elbow.

Bryant will have a little more control of where he wants to position himself on the court and not necessarily with the ball in his hands.

Secondly, Laker fans have seen two types of Bryant throughout his career. They saw the slasher and incredible scorer for the first two-thirds of his career.

However, after his Achilles injury, Bryant developed more into a facilitator and a true point guard in a sense. That will be a big determinant on what to expect out of Bryant for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

January 4, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) passes behind his back against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If Bryant is going for the scoring monster the world is used to seeing, expect him between 18 and 19 points per game.

If facilitator Bryant shows up (which is far more likely) then Laker fans will see averages closer to 15 points but six or seven assists on a nightly basis.

Explosiveness will also be an interesting topic for Bryant this year.

There is no doubt that he’ll be explosive heading into the season, but how long will his body be able to handle the rigorous season?

If Bryant can show some explosiveness, he’ll be a much bigger force on the court than people expect to see. That being said, Bryant has to overcome yet another major surgery so expectations are pretty low heading into the season.

There’s no doubt Bryant will be in the mix this season, and Laker fans are itching for the season to start. The “Black Mamba” has returned, and the league should start preparing for him.

Next: Kobe Bryant Turns 37 Years Young

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