January 26, 2015 / 8:59 PM / in 3 years

Lakers' Bryant to have surgery, season in jeopardy

(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.

November 1, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts after fouling Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11, not pictured) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 127-104. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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

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