LOS ANGELES (AFP) — National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant has decided to forego surgery on his right pinkie finger after learning it could sideline him for 12 weeks.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar and newly minted Olympic gold medallist said Tuesday on his website, kb24.com, that he has decided against an operation before the start of the season.
"When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery," Bryant said.
Bryant, 30, played in all 82 games and averaged 28.3 points last season despite suffering ligament damage in the pinkie against the New Jersey Nets on February 5.
The Lakers reached the NBA Finals, where they fell in six games to the Boston Celtics.
"I've always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even though various injuries," Bryant said. "That's just part of the game."
Offseason surgery was recommended, but Bryant put off the operation to play in the Beijing Olympics, where he helped the United States win gold.
The Lakers open training camp on September 27 and host the Portland Trail Blazers in their season opener on October 28.
"I am just really excited and looking forward to be being there with the guys when camp opens in a few weeks," Bryant said.
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