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Lakers GM Kupchak expects Bryant to return

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Updated 10 months ago on
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Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak foresees star guard Kobe Bryant returning from a shoulder injury to play next season.

Brant had surgery to repair rotator cuff damage on Wednesday. His recovery time is projected at nine months, which would be just before the start of the 2015-16 season.

“I don’t think he’s retiring,” Kupchak said Thursday. “He said he’s looking forward to training camp. That’s what we expect.”

Bryant is making $23.5 million this season and has one year left on his contract at $25 million. The 19-year veteran will turn 37 this summer.

“He’ll be in a brace and it will be an awkward-looking brace,” Kupchak said. “I think that would prevent him from doing anything for quite some time in terms of being able to use your lower body. But at some point in time, his shoulder will get to the point where he can jog and do treadmill and do things on the court. I’m not that concerned with the conditioning part of it.”

Bryant averaged a team-high 35.4 minutes in the first 27 games this season, which is the third year in a row that he has succumbed to an injury.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with anything — certainly not the injury,” Kupchak said.

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