After having his previous three seasons ended prematurely due to injuries, perhaps the biggest question surrounding Kobe Bryant's 20th season playing for the Los Angeles Lakers is the future Hall of Famer's health. Will Bryant be able to play the majority of the 2015-16 season at age 37 without sustaining another season ending injury?
While only the future holds the answer to the previous question, those wondering whether or not Bryant would be far enough along in his recovery from a torn rotator cuff to participate when the Lakers begin training camp in Hawaii on September 29th have their answer. After the Lakers announced their new front office promotions and named their analytics department earlier Friday, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak sat down with USA Today's Sam Amick for a wide ranging interview that included Kupchak's opinion of the Lakers' analytics department. Kupchak also touched on Bryant's health, and it sounds like the Lakers general manager is confident that Bryant will be ready to go for training camp:
"My understanding is that he'll be ready for camp," said Kupchak, whose team has exhibition games scheduled at the University of Hawaii against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6. "Knowing Kobe, he will try to participate in every practice in camp. But myself and (head coach) Byron (Scott) are going to have something to say about that. So I'm sure there will be a practice or two or three where we won't let him practice, but I do expect him to be full bore at camp."
While Kupchak also noted that Bryant has not been one of the players getting in early work at the Lakers' practice facility, that is likely because the veteran shooting guard is saving what wear and tear on his body that he can before attempting the grind of an 82-game season, quite possibly for the last time.