Despite sore shoulder, Kobe Bryant doesn't plan on shutting it down early

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Kobe Bryant's farewell tour from the NBA will not come to a close ahead of schedule because of his ailing right shoulder.

He simply won't allow that to happen.

"I can't do that," Bryant said when asked whether he'd shut it down early following the Los Angeles Lakers' 117-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes.

"There's like (20 games) left in the season. As much as I can get out there and play, I'll get out there and play. At Staples (Center), I'm going to have to start ramping it up a little bit and getting out there and playing. It's almost a wrap."

Bryant played just 11 minutes against Denver before calling it a night early, as his shoulder, which forced him to miss the team's previous two games, began giving him problems.

"It's really, really achy," Bryant said. "(I've) got a little bit of clicking in it and things like that. Just try to stay on top of it right now."

The 37-year-old "Black Mamba" underwent surgery last year to repair a torn rotator cuff, which sidelined him for all but 35 games during the 2014-15 campaign. He certainly understands the risks that come with continuing to compete, but at the same time, he doesn't want to put himself in a position where he'd have to once again go under the knife.

"I don't want to do something towards the end and have the shoulder pop out again, and then I'm on the surgery table again or something like that," Bryant said. "I don't want that to happen. So we've just got to be smart, but I'll still appreciate the time that I have left."

He's currently averaging 16.8 points on 35.1 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists during his 20th and final season for the Lakers, who have just one victory in their last 10 games.