Before Kobe Bryant was sidelined with another injury, he didn't look like himself, at least according to Hall of Famer and former Lakers general manager Jerry West, who is currently an executive with the Golden State Warriors.
"When he was playing, to me he didn't look like the same player," West said Friday on Dan Patrick's radio show. "He hadn't gotten to where he was real explosive.
"I think his shooting will always be there, but I've often wondered if he would have just rested another couple of months, would we have seen a different Kobe Bryant?"
Bryant tore his left Achilles' tendon in April during a win over the Warriors. He returned on Dec. 8 in a loss to the Toronto Raptors.
After six games, Bryant sustained a knee injury that will knock him out for another six weeks.
"He's one of the toughest players I think you'll ever see play this game," West said. "He doesn't take no for an answer. He's pretty much set in his ways about how he wants to approach it, but frankly just watching him play, he didn't look like Kobe Bryant to me."
Bryant averaged 13.8 points in 29.5 minutes a game in the six games he played, shooting 42.5% from the field. He also averaged 6.3 assists and 5.7 turnovers.
"He had a serious injury. I don't care how much you rehab, somewhere along the way your body is going to react in different ways," West said. "He has played so many minutes, and he's put so much effort into it, it does take its toll."
West also had praise for Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni.
"I think Mike D'Antoni has done an unbelievable job," West said. "I can't believe the job he's done, because I don't think this is one of the most talented Lakers team by far.
"They have a bunch of players that have played with a lot of teams. He's molded them. They really play hard. It's going to be interesting to see if they can get a couple of their point guards back. They've had an injury-filled season and when you have that, it always disrupts things."
In addition to Bryant's injury woes, point guards Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (back) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) are sidelined.
Farmar may be back as soon as Christmas Day. The rest could be out through January.