(Reuters) - Kobe Bryant’s NBA season could be over after the guard agreed to have surgery on a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, the Los Angeles Lakers said on Monday.
The five-time National Basketball Association champion will have surgery on Wednesday and a timeline for his return will be issued following the procedure, the team said in a statement.
Bryant injured his shoulder last week in a loss to the Pelicans in New Orleans and it could lead to the 16-time NBA All-Star being shut down for the Lakers’ final 37 games of the 2014-15 regular season.
The 36-year-old guard was averaging 22.3 points from 35 games this season for a struggling Lakers team that is last in the Pacific Division with a 12-33 record.
Bryant had sat out eight of the Lakers’ previous 16 games for “rest” reasons.
The former league most valuable player, who stands fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, played in only six games last season due to knee and Achilles tendon injuries as Los Angeles posted a 27-55 record.
Bryant, who joined the Lakers as a first-round pick out of high school as an 18-year-old in 1996, is signed through next season after inking a two-year extension in 2013 for $48.5 million.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue