Kobe decides against knee surgery

Updated: October 3, 2012, 11:13 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant raved about how improved his right knee felt last season after visiting Germany to undergo Regenokine surgery. As effective as the treatment might have been, the Los Angeles Lakers star decided a repeat procedure was not necessary heading into 2012-13.

"No," Bryant said when asked if he visited Dr. Peter Wehling, the doctor responsible for the innovative blood manipulation technique, this past offseason. "I was a little busy."

Bryant
Bryant

Bryant had a full schedule this summer, winning the gold medal with USA Basketball at the Olympics in London before touring China for several weeks fulfilling sponsor obligations.

When asked if Bryant planned to have the treatment done in the future, he responded, "What, like I'll fly to Germany during the season? ... No, I think I'll be fine."

The news comes as a bit of a surprise, as Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told the Lakers official team website in June that Bryant would indeed visit Dr. Wehling when his schedule allowed for it surrounding the Olympics.

While Bryant, 34, enters his 17th season having logged close to 60,000 career minutes in the regular season and playoffs combined, the Lakers star claims that a full Olympic workload over the summer actually has him more prepared to start the season.

Bryant endured a similar summer in 2008, winning the gold in Beijing before playing well into June the following season and winning the championship against the Orlando Magic.

"I think what that summer did was put me in game shape right from the beginning," Bryant said. "That's really what it did. Sometimes it's harder if you have the summer off and you get out of shape and it takes more toll on your body to actually get back into shape, as opposed to never really being out of shape and you just kind of pick right up and you're already at that level. So, it's already a little less strenuous."

Despite Bryant's dedication to his conditioning, Lakers coach Mike Brown still wants to save the veteran's body during the regular season to have him fresh for what the team hopes to be an extended playoff run.

Last season, Bryant averaged 38.5 minutes per game, significantly more than the 33.9 minutes per game Bryant played in 2010-11 under Phil Jackson.

"If I can, I'd definitely love to keep his minutes down and not have him up to 38 (minutes per game)," Brown said, without offering a specific minutes range. "But, I'm sure he'll tell you he can play 48 (minutes), which is probably true if he needed to. But we feel like we have a deep team this year and hopefully at the end of the day, it leads to reduced minutes for him."

Brown also said he will try to reduce the workload of Bryant, along with the Lakers' other thirty-something vets in Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison, during L.A.'s slate of eight preseason games.

"If a guy is tired, we won't play him as much," Brown said. "If he's not tired and feels like he can go, we'll play him what we're normally going to play him."

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