Count me in as among those who are concerned about Kobe's knee. That kind of stuff can and does end careers. Think of some of the great SG's and SF's: Alex English, James Worthy, Bernard King, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, all had their careers cut short by a knee or both knees gone bad. English, for example, averaged 26.5ppg at 35 years old, then started having a nagging knee injury and was out of the league just 2 years later. Worthy suffered from tendinitis: just 10 years after he broke into the league, he was a shadow of his former self. It was sad to watch him labor up and down the court during his last 2 seasons.
So knowing Kobe already has over 1000 games played, I'm always happy to see him out there cuz we just don't know how much longer he has. At this point, I'm thinking if his knee doesn't deteriorate too badly, he should be able to play out his current contract plus extension at a high level but with fewer minutes, but the slowdown will be noticeable. After that contract expires, he's probably done unless he wants to be a sidekick, the elderly sage who's still good for the occasional outburst but mostly stays on the ground and plays the facilitator/glue guy role.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.