Kobe Bryant return [VIDEO]: 'Black Mamba' vows to play in 2014, 'My plan hasn't changed'
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant remains sidelined with a left knee injury as his team continues to spiral toward the bottom of the Western Conference, but the 'Black Mamba' has vowed to return in 2014 no matter how much the team falters.
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"My plan hasn't changed," Bryant said Sunday per ESPN. "I'm just going about it every single day just trying to get better. That's my job. My job is to get my butt back out there on the court when I'm healthy enough to play and that hasn't changed."
Bryant has been sidelined since Dec. 17 and has missed the Lakers (18-33) last 26 games. He averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42.5 percent in shooting this season. Bryant also missed the first 19 games of the Lakers season with a torn Achilles in his left leg.
While Bryant has remained steadfast in his plan to return, he isn't sure when he'll be back, and ESPN reports that he is scheduled to be re-evaluated next week following the All-Star Game.
"That I don't know," Bryant said per ESPN. "It's completely out of my control. I really got to sit here and just wait until this thing heals up and then go out there and do what I do."
Bryant remains confident that he'll play this season, but he had to stay back in Los Angeles when the Lakers went 2-1 on their road trip through Minnesota, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
"The last week's been horrible," Bryant said, according to ESPN. "That Cleveland game, it was crazy. And then [Chris] Kaman goes to sleep on the bench, it's like when big brother is not around, you start doing crazy [stuff]. So, it's been rough. It's been rough. But I've been just riding the bike, trying to stay active, stay in shape, spend a lot of time with my family -- which really helps to kind of balance it out. But I hate not being there with the guys and watching them going through that period that they're going through. It's very, very tough. I just try to be patient."
While it is his knee that currently ails him, Bryant said the Achilles injury was the worst he's ever dealt with and that he is constantly reminded of it, ESPN reports.
"It's the worst," Bryant told ESPN. "It's the worst injury to get."
Bryant was absent again Sunday as the Lakers fell to the Chicago Bulls 92-86 in what became their eighth loss in 10 games.