Any Sacramento Kings fans who might have been hoping to catch Kobe Bryant’s return to NBA action after recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon he sustained in April will be disappointed.
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported via Twitter earlier today:
Kobe Bryant just told me that he is NOT going to be playing Friday against Sacramento. He is not ruling out Sunday against Toronto, however
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 5, 2013
For those who might not be familiar with the story (i.e., NBA fans who have been kept in a secure, undisclosed location for the last seven months), Bryant was injured near the end of the 2012-13 season in a game against the Golden State Warriors.
He missed the final two regular-season games as well as the Lakers’ first-round sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
At 34, he had a remarkable season last year, averaging 27.3 points per game. It’s the third-highest average ever for a player in his age 34 season, trailing only Michael Jordan’s 28.7 for the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98 and Bernard King’s 28.4 for the Washington Bullets in 1990-91. (h/t basketball-reference.com)
The highest scoring average for a player in his age 35 season was set Alex English of the Denver Nuggets in 1988-89, when he averaged 26.5 points per game.
The oldest players to average 20 points or more per game were Karl Malone for the 2002-03 Utah Jazz (20.6 points in his age 39 season) and Jordan with the Washington Wizards the same season (20.0 points, also in his age 39 season).
Bryant is fourth all-time in NBA history with 31,617 points, 675 behind third-place Jordan. Malone had 36,928 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leader with 38,387.
In 59 career regular-season games against the Kings, Bryant has averaged 26.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 37.3 minutes per game.
The Lakers and Kings have squared off in the postseason three times in Bryant’s career. He averaged 27.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 38.6 points a game in a five-game first-round series win by the Lakers in 2000 (when the series were a best-of-5), 35 points, nine rebounds and 4.3 assists in 43.3 minutes per game in a 2001 conference semifinals sweep by the Lakers and 27.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists in the controversial seven-game Western Conference Finals in 2002, when the Lakers beat the Kings in a decisive seventh game. Bryant averaged 43.9 minutes per game in that series.