Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has opted against surgery on his little finger in order to take part in pre-season training.
Kobe Bryant of the U.S. dunks the ball during Men's Gold Medal Game- Game 76 between Spain and the United States of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games basketball event at Olympic Basketball Gymnasium in Beijing, China, Aug. 24, 2008. [Xinhua]
Bryant picked up the injury in February and decided not to undergo surgery in order to finish the NBA season and to go to the Olympics with the US team.
After winning a gold medal in Beijing it was expected that the NBA's Most Valuable Player would deal with the injury before the start of the new season.
"I have always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries," Bryant told his own website (http://wwww.kb24.com) yesterday.
"That's really just part of the game. When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery.
"What it really came down to for me is that I just didn't want to miss any time 'punching the clock' for the Lakers, given all we are trying to accomplish as a team this NBA season.
"I am just really excited and looking forward to being there with the guys when camp opens in a few weeks. That is a real bonding process and if I can avoid being on the sidelines for that, God willing, I will," Bryant said.