One Injury That Kobe Can’t Instantly Slay

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST –
Kobe Bryant will have surgery this afternoon, but even he knows it’s a formality. The immediate procedure for a ruptured Achilles tendon is an obvious one. The sensation it creates is unmistakable and Kobe knew the reality before he courageously limped in front of reporters Friday night, slumped on crutches and with bloodshot eyes.

The Los Angeles Lakers medical staff surely told him the news that must have struck him like a basketball in his throat: The typical recovery period is nine to 12 months, even for a Black Mamba, seemingly more a 6-foot-6, 205-pound piece of precision machinery than a mere fragile human throughout his incredible 17-year career.

“We have to question to ourselves, how special are these athletes?” noted sports injury expert and author Will Carroll Saturday morning. “Is there something mental that goes into the physicalness? Have we granted Kobe magical powers that he might not have? If he’s back in six months, then yeah, give it to him. If it’s 12 months like Derrick Rose (ACL injury), then he’s human.”

Even as the severity and consequence of the injury to his left foot was still soaking in, Bryant, 34, was telling reporters it was already fueling his desire to return better than ever. We can only expect him to pursue the accelerated Terrell Suggs model. The Baltimore Ravens linebacker played seven months after his Achilles injury, but Suggs is the clear exception in these cases.

Bryant’s path will include surgery likely as soon as the swelling recedes. Then begins the grueling comeback trail of rehabilitation.

“He might not be back until December,” Carroll said. “If we’re talking a 12-month recovery, and that’s the long end, we’re talking a full season. He does have some great factors going for him. He’s in great shape, he’s not that old and he’s very athletic.”

Bryant, of course, has one more season left on his contract and he recently indicated to NBA.com that he planned to make a decision this summer on how much longer he wanted to play. He made several suggestions going back to training camp that he would retire sooner rather than later.

It’s impossible to determine how long it will take a particular individual to recover from a catastrophic injury. Carroll said Bryant’s chronic knee issues could complicate his recovery due to overcompensation as he works to strengthen his heel. Carroll said it can also be difficult to locate a donor tendon large enough to replace the highly developed one of a 6-6 elite athlete.

Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas retired at age 32 after rupturing his Achilles in April 1994. Dominique Wilkins has said the favorite portion of his Hall of Fame career was rupturing his right Achilles at 32, hearing that his windmill tomahawk days were done only to return with a vengeance. He increased his scoring average the next two seasons and made three more All-Star teams.

Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, 36, hasn’t been the same since his return 10 months after rupturing his Achilles tendon in Feb. 2012.

“Jumping is the toughest part,” Carroll said of basketball player’s return from a torn Achilles tendon. “That’s what’s going to test Kobe the most.”

Response to Bryant’s injury immediately focused on the heavy minutes he’s logged all season and primarily over the last seven games as the disappointing Lakers have made a desperate charge to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Bryant had again played every second of Friday night’s 118-116 win at Golden State up to the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter when Bryant made his fateful move to drive by Harrison Barnes. Bryant stepped down on his right foot and fell to the ground.

Headed toward a third 48-minute effort, it was his eighth consecutive game of playing at least 41 minutes. He averaged 45.7 minutes in the six games before Friday night.

Some have pointed a finger at coach Mike D’Antoni for allowing Bryant to carry on that way, but it was the prideful Bryant who forced that issue during this mad playoff push.

Achilles injuries do seem to attack athletes in their 30s with more regularity, and certainly age and fatigue play a role in being vulnerable to such an injury. Those two factors can’t be overlooked in this case. But it’s impossible to declare it definitively. An injury can occur to any player, young or old, at any time, and Bryant has routinely played through injuries, such as his recent severely sprained ankle, that would sideline others for weeks.

“Every time you run you’re doing some damage. Age and fatigue are a factor, but not the only factor,” Carroll said. “Usually in a traumatic injury, you take a wrong step and it happens.”

The next step for Bryant is surgery followed by rehab. Then the countdown for his return from the first major injury of his career will begin in earnest. Bryant has never played fewer than 65 games in any season and he’s missed only a handful of games in each of the last eight seasons.

Right now, nobody can be certain when, or even if, he’ll be back for an 18th NBA season.

“Is it six months, eight months or is it 12 months?” Carroll said. “Is he the next Terrell Suggs or Derrick Rose?”
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53 Comments

  1. GET WELL SOON, KOBE says:

    Have a SPEEDY recovery, Kobe! :) We know you will be fine. You are the greatest player to ever play the game. We respect you, and we know that if anyone is to recovery from this unfortunate injury… it is you!!! You provide the whole world a perfect example of how to play good basketball. you are the hardest worker and the most competitive player in the whole league. We all look up to you. You have the greatest team in the world, and they will provide for you in these last crucial games. Just keep a positive attitude, Kobe!!!! YOU ARE AMAZING! :)

  2. Max Power says:

    Grant, I totally totally agree with you. The fact that barely anyones addressing this issue and the ones that are have been vehemently refuting that this could at all be trumped up or sham-like lets me know we’re both on the right track.

  3. Tom says:

    Irony that even as he went down with injury, a ref gave him free points for falling over -.- It’s a disgrace how biased the officiating has been with relation to the Lakers, Jazz and their respective opponents.

  4. Rey Peace 24 says:

    I hope ALL injured NBA players right now recover soon. ALL!

    Anyway, the NBA is not a reality show, the MVP award shouldn’t be given out of pity for someone.
    Maybe people can make a slideshow or something for their injured heroes, but the MVP award belongs to someone who performed well THROUGHOUT the season, who has dominated the game of basketball, and who has brought his team into a winning position (not a WHINING position).
    Every fan’s opinion matters but OBJECTIVITY can’t be ruled out.

    Team with the best record – wins home court advantage
    Team with more points – wins the game
    Team with more games won in a series – wins the series
    Player on the team with the BEST RECORD with the HIGHEST EFFICIENCY RATING – SHOULD win the MVP

  5. why he shoot fts before leave the game? says:

    that wasn’t a foul at all, he fell in pain when he got hurt and then was automatically a foul…. ridiculous NBA/refs helping the lakers. I wish him well though

  6. Griffin #71 says:

    ONE injury, ONE of the greatest players ever and ONE of the biggest ****ing idiots on Earth.
    That ****ing idiots name is Michael D’Antoni. He shouldn’t have even tried playing Kobe all game. If Kobe was asked to sit and refused then it would be his fault. Kobe porbably thought he would be alright so he didn’t ask to sit but then he ruptured his Achillies. So Mike this message is for you.
    What the **** were you thinking playing Kobe the whole game. There are more guards on the bench who probably got very little to no playing time and probably ****ing hate you as their coach because they see Kobe as a great player too but also realise he’s not ****ing expendable. The whole league, **** that, the whole ****ing world, were probably thinking
    “Who the **** is this guy with pubes tickling his nostrils playing Kobe to breaking. We want Phil.”
    **** you Michael, You’re a ****ing disgrace go **** yourself mother****er
    #WeWantPhil

    P.S. – Not a Lakers or Kobe.
    Brooklyn ’til I die.

  7. Lakers' fanboy says:

    Still there are so many Kobe haters on here…how can you say The lakers will play better without kobe…this is the biggest joke ever….because of him the lakers won the last 2 games at least. without kobe’s last FT made they wouldnt have won that game. without kobe 48 mins playing at blazer putting up 47 pts 18-18 FT and coming up with 4 blocks and 3 steals they wouldnt have won that game at all. do you even watch kobe play? because i freaking do and i love that man to dead. sigh……why do people hate so much. Prayers to the Mamba. and cure the blind people that cant see greatness in kobe.

  8. lester says:

    that’s a big loss for the lakers. the 8th place in the playoff is crucial

  9. Jowellchua says:

    Goodbye! he will never ever win another title and he will never be like MJ, 3 rings because of shaq, you want him to come back? at that age, wherein he will just keep throwing bricks after bricks, he will never relinquish his role as being the scoring hog so what good is that?

  10. Big Al says:

    This is a job for AI. Get him on a 10-day contract and have a decent playoff performance. Everyone has ignored the services of Iverson at their own peril.

    Kobe will bounce back soon. He has done about 90% the work so now it’s up to his teammates to take it all the way. Please man up and don’t flush his efforts down the drain by squandering 8th spot.

  11. arnell says:

    bata plang ako favorite team ko na ang lakers, nung una nakita ko si kobe nayabangan ako……pero wala akong magawa kc laker fan n ako!!! pero habang napapanood ko sya natutuwa ako kc maraming naiinis sa kanya! hehehehe tapos isang iglap na injury sya,WOW sama parang natapos na ang nba sakin! cguro nga hanggang dun nalang talaga c kobe, pero alam ko…alam ko… babalik kp KOBE BRYANT a.k.a. black mamba! ipagdadasal ko ang pag galing mo! god bless you! come back stronger!

    para sa mga lakers lang 2ng post ko, kung haters kyo wag na kyo mag comment…..hinde nyo magugustuhan sasabihin ko! seryoso ako!

    L A K E R S F O R L I F E

  12. Tushar says:

    Kobe will bounce back, I have FAITH, and I’m quite sad by this even though I’m a celtics fan

  13. Eric says:

    Had the same injury 12 months ago. And just now I’m back at doing regular stuff. I feel bad for Kobe. It will be a long recovery. He will never be the same. Just focus on rehab and maybe you can return in 9 months. Good luck

  14. Alex says:

    I say this is the beginning of a new chapter in Kobe’s career. He will go from dominator to facilitator. Just having him on the court makes everyone around him step their games up. It’s not like his career is over, not by far. Look at all these other much older dudes that still hold very important roles on their teams. The Lakers are just going to have to surround him with a bit more talent. He would still be near the top of anyone’s list trying to put together a championship quality team. Kobe after healed from an achilles is still better than half the guys in the league. Hey Kobe this is a profound time of growth for you. Take care of yourself LA loves you and will always be Lakertown thanks to guys like you.

  15. Cam says:

    Kobe has nothing to prove. at the end of the day all hes guilty of in his career is taking sole responsibilty for getting the win and if you wanna call it selfish, so be it. It doesn’t matter if he wins 6,7 or 8 rings. Haters will hate. Kobe plays with injuries that other players will sit out for. His will and determination is unmatched.
    This injury is a setback but whatever he decides to do will be the right decision for Kobe.
    I for one hope he comes back with all his Injuries sorted and we see the Mamba in full flight once again and hear the commentators yell KOBE!!!!

  16. Big Mike says:

    six titles…just like Mike…it was never meant to be. the Black Mamba will finish his career with only five but at least he has the respect of the greatest basketball player to ever play the game…..Michael Jordan…the real king.

  17. Abfabz says:

    A sad sad ending for the current season. Your performance this entire year has been astounding. I have made time to tune in to every game and study your dedication to the game. It is inspiring on so many levels. From your preparation, to physical strength, intellect to mental toughness – simply incredible.

    You are one of the few individuals I look up to and actually apply characteristics to my own life.

    Thankyou for the pure entertainment you have provided me and the fans. Seeing you give 110% every game is the excitement that is the NBA to me. Flying from AUS to LA just to watch you plan turned out to be brilliant and a memory I will have forever.

    Best of luck with the rehabilitation Kobe – tough injury but you will be back for your final performance…..

  18. Tyler says:

    Man this is kind of depressing seeing him go down like that, no player should have to go threw that. As a NBA fan I hate seeing this stuff it ruins the playoffs first Rose, then Rondo now Kobe!? hope they all come back next year and play basketball as great as they were before the injuries. That being said I honestly still wouldn’t take the Lakers lightly. They still have one best center in the league in Dwight Howard who has stepped up his game recently, and Pau Gasol is back and playing good basketball too. Not to mention Nash is gonna be the primarily leader now! So GO LAKERS, and watch out for Coach Vino aka Black Mamba lol. Next season we got it though. peace

  19. Neutral says:

    First I wanna start off by saying D’Antoni is by far NOT the smartest coach. If you watch that entire game you’ll see what I mean. He should have taken Kobe out after he hurt his knee driving down the lane… and let me remind you Kobe went down several times during that game and the knee sting was the 2nd injury of the night… the Achilles rupture was the 3rd time Kobe went down and it happened late during the 4th qtr. Why D’Antoni continued to let Kobe stay in the game and do more damage to his body and not sit him for a while is beyond me. Last time I checked D’Antoni was the coach and Bryant was the player. D’Antoni is a negligent coach and I wasn’t surprised when Kobe finally fell apart in the 4th… the guys been playing the last 4 games without any rest. Now the second thing I that I wanted to say is that in an ironic twist of fate I feel like the Lakers will be a better team without Kobe. He takes over too much. Now it’s time for Dwight Howard to step up and be the in charge and get a chance to lead this franchise to a possible title. The Lakers have no offensive strategy because 80% of the time the ball goes to Kobe to score instead of the team running plays, setting screens, getting players open and exploiting match ups. That’s how a real team wins… not by giving the ball to one guy all the time.

  20. Amro says:

    Kobe ‘out for the season’. This is extremely rare! Hope he gets even better than before.

  21. Scooty B says:

    Kobe Bryant aka…GOAT. Nobody wants to win more than this guy. So many NBA players play off talent without great work ethic. If Kobe only had average talent he would work himself into All- Star caliber. Hats off to a Laker icon and an all time Top 5 Player in the history of the game.

  22. dreadyjun says:

    Understand this people. Kobe is such a great player that he can play until he’s 40 if he wanted to. Kobe at the age of 34 is still the best player in the league. Do you think an extra year will make him any less skillful? I bet you at the age of 40 he would still be better that 95% of the players playing in the NBA. Kobe is not a choker like lebron.

    • u kiddin says:

      @dreadyjun don’t be stupid. kobe is very talented but he is not even between the 3 best right now. and u call lebron a choker? u must be blind or not watch the game. stop being biased

  23. dreadyjun says:

    @Karma, are you for real? Have you seen last year’s finals? Do you know how many favourable calls Miami got from the referees. First of all there is no such thing as Karma…. The world would not have any criminals and dictators by now. And there would not be any people making stupid comments like you. Do you understand Karma?

  24. Truth says:

    Lakers will start winning now that kobe is gone. Truth hurts

    I do hope kobe comes back like nothing happened. He is entertaining despite his poor teamwork. It’s just not fun to watch the lakers with the current line up. If Dwight would only get back to his old self….

    If the lakers find another shooting guard that can put up 20 pts a game without taking the whole team’s shot attemp and make his teammates better, the lakers will be a team to watch out for.

    Bash me now. I just spoke the truth

  25. dreadyjun says:

    @Eddie, yes Kobe should have definitely won more MVPs. The league gave one to Nash when clearly it should have been Kobe’s MVP. It’s all about politics. The league has is in for Kobe and the Lakers.

  26. thierry says:

    Amazing almost everybody say good thing about Kobe, would it be possible that even the haters have some heart. Thanks god people are not always bitter hater. Some love appear when health is touched..and i thought there was no hope on this world

    there is we can beleive in a better future

  27. Karma struck the NBA says:

    Don’t worry Kobe, the referees and the NBA will always be by your side, as it was pretty evident last night during the game.

    • 3ptdagger says:

      I can’t believe people are accusing Kobe of overstating an injury just to make a miraculous recovery. Really? I’ve seen plenty of athletes understate an injury, but never the opposite. Then we have more conspiracy theorists accusing the NBA and refs of favoring the Lakers to get them in the playoffs. If that’s the case, how are they still fighting for the 8th spot? Never mind all of that nonsense though.

      This is very unfortunate and I hope this isn’t the end of Kobe’s career, but however it pans out, Kobe’s certainly proven himself as the next great in the NBA following the Jordan era and has had a great comeback season to be remembered by.

  28. Frank says:

    Kobe will be back better than ever. I just hate to see him not with my Lakers in the playoffs who knows what would have happened…

  29. Aditya says:

    he lakers also needs to be dominant in the playoffs or i will be extremely upset.we have to go for the title this season
    Lakers will win the title and win the rest of the games to finnish the season or i will be extremely upset. i watch others teams too. i cheer very very loudly. i watch every lakers game. i am a die hard lakers fan.
    when the lakers are loosing and are not playing well during the game i also get extremely upset. i celebrate when lakers win the title and maybe playoff series.

  30. Kobe Bryant will be back sooner or later. He will still dominate the game at his age. He will still get his 6th NBA Championship. Go Lakers and win more NBA Championship.

    Ray
    Ray Duque III (GMBD), USA

  31. t.gray says:

    KOBE IS NOT LYING. I tore my achilles tendon 10 years ago and it’s a deceptive injury. You can walk fine if you only put your bad foot in front of you, even take long strides (like he does as he leaves the court) but you can’t take a step forward with your good foot in front of you, which is when you stretch the heel of your bad foot. Because it won’t stretch. I’M SO SORRY KOBE, thank you for all the inspiration you have given me.

  32. LakerNick0 says:

    Is Kobe Bryant DEAD?!
    NO, HE IS NOT, he is ALIVE!
    “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, proven by Kobe meny times before!
    Kobe said: “Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??”
    Are you VINO or not?
    Well Kobe, as you know, you’re a clutch player, and this is your biggest clutch and chalange. And you like both of them. This is what you do, this is what you’re best at!

    We pray for you, we believe in you, we trust you, we love you!

    Sorry for my bad english..

    Best wishes from a
    Laker fan from Montenegro!

  33. WRSmoove says:

    im no laker fan but kobe’s heart is bigger than the state of cali he’ll come back his motivation and will are too much for even an injury like this wont take him down
    P.S Leggo Heat 2013 champs

  34. Terrance Underwood says:

    Kobe wouldnt fake a injury , to much pride , also he wants 6 to 7 rings , i do believe though we will see him sooner than later . Back on the court , playing to win .

  35. jimmymackey says:

    Well, I don’t think this is going to fair well Heat #1 Fan; Kobe is likely done for good with only one year left on his contract and an injury like this. Unfortunately, I can’t see all of the games I would like to when I’m working at my job at DISH. I just use the DISH Hopper’s Game Finder app at work to keep track of the Lakers’ scores and other teams I follow in the NBA, real time. I just glance at the TV by my desk once in a while and I know what’s going on with all of the games without any work on my part.

  36. cadroy says:

    @Grant,

    Good for you find some other personality to hate at will.

  37. Gary Payton says:

    One blog on Kobe would do fine, six is five to many! This weekend on NBA blog is a waste of time..

  38. 34yr fan says:

    …Wish you the best , Kobe……. Speedy return or lengthy return. If , and I say If !! you decide to hang up the sneakers….. Congrats… You have accomplished what few in this sport ever have…..and even fewer EVER will . Good Luck !!!!!

  39. W/E says:

    What a catastrophic season for the lakers,seems like Kobe’s career is done,D12 will leave LA, Nash will retire Gasol get traded, they wont be able to compete for the next couple years, R.I.P Lakers.

  40. brkrtrvs says:

    Man, I’ll be honest. I hate the Lakers and their refs for favoring them just to make the play offs.
    but WTF? I feel bad for kobe. why him? there’s a lot of players out there with great talents but wasting it and then here’s kobe, doing all he can just to win games. man, please pray for kobe

  41. frans says:

    Kobe has put the entire organization on his shoulders this season. As a Celtic fan, I am not particullary keen on him, but in my opinion he deserves to be MVP if the Lakers make it to the playoffs. Cause he was really winning games for Lala. Of course, Lebron showed very complete basketball at a stellar level, but even without him, the Heat was able to win games because of the talent on the roster and the good chemistry. But Kobe showed more value by fighting a bad playing team back into playoff position. By his own (and a little help from the Spaniard)

    • Eddie says:

      @fran. You are right in so many ways, BUT if MVP was given truly to the one who brings the most value to his team, then Kobe would have and should have won more MVPs in his career. Like you said, LeBron had another great season and you can’t take that away from him, but to me it seems like MVP is voted mostly on current popularity than on value. All the greats in this sport agree that given Kobe’s performance and achievements throughout his career, he certainly deserved more than just one MVP. I hope he makes a speedy recovery and comes back better than ever and with a better support team, win one or two more championships. Then again, who knows, he might just hang in the towel and retire, He doesn’t need to prove anything anymore, he has already proved to be one of the greatest who played this game.

      • TruthK says:

        Kobe didn’t win that much MVPs because compared to the other winners, he lacks the leadership that every team needs. Kobe just happened to be a really good player on a popular team. If he played for celtics or the Knicks, it would be the same thing. But if he played for… Uhm bobcats, New Orleans, Cleveland, and the likes, I doubt he’ll make more noise than what Chris Paul did in New Orleans nor than what Irving is doing in Cleveland now. Remember, Kobe’s first two season was a bust. Remember the air balls? I’m not even going to talk about a certain rookie in Cleveland back in 2003.

        Since shaq left, lakers were no where near contenders till they got Pao. How can you award the MVP to someone who can’t make his team into a winning team???? Kobe might had good stats but those were just stats. It doesn’t describe how the player got those stats. There are other things that makes a player great other than scoring, especially when you get most of your points from taking too many shots.

        It such a great disrespect to the players like Kareem, russell, magic, MJ, wilt, oscar, Hakeem, and even Karl Malone that the media would so easily place kobe among the greatest ever. These greats paved the way for this generation. And all these greats knew how to play the game correctly at the highest level. Unlike kobe who just takes a lot of shot to compensate for his game. Kobe is no where close to being the greatest ever.

        Bash me now, I just spoke the truth

  42. Heat #1 Fan says:

    He can’t end his career like this it is just not right.. Should end with an epic battle in the finals with Lebron #Vinospeedyrecovery

  43. Grant says:

    I sense something fishy about this “injury”. If it actually was a complete Achilles tear, there is no way Kobe could possibly be moving around with only a limp. With that kind of injury he’d need help just to get from a to b. This may be another case of the LA and general basketball media trying to hype another miraculous recovery from Kobe.
    In fact, some of the quick recoveries from injuries lately have been very suspicious to me. No wonder the NBA has a very slack policy on performance enhancing drugs. There are drugs out there that dramatically aid recovery, yet the league does not regularly test all the players. I think the NBA is in denial or just doesn’t care like major league baseball for many years.

    • LAKERS 4EVA!! says:

      right, sure, the professional Doctors and Surgeons just made up the injury. They opened up Bryants ankle and played around in there, just for the fun of it… idiot

  44. Max says:

    Sad way to end the career of a MVP SUPERSTAR! Just proves all are human and not a robot. Season is NOT all over! NO TEAM IS FOR SURE TO STAY HEALTHY! Spurs have lot of health issues, any team can go down. One wrong fall or hit and ones career will go on hold for many months and may or may not return. I think about that when I see players like R. Westbrook strut, he seems to show that he is above being hurt????So do so many young STUDS ahead of Russell, have gone downl!!!

    • LAKERS 4EVA!! says:

      Russell Westbrook is probably one of the only players who has a right to “strut” about this issue. Not many players, especially athletic, full speed players, like Westbrook can go his entire professional career to date without missing a SINGLE game! Its pretty amazing when you think about it. Sure, injuries can happen at any time to any player, its just part of the game…

  45. Chris says:

    Ugh every blog is about this injury. Need you remind us every second Kobe is done? Was bad enough watching one of the greatest go down like that, I’d be just as sad if it was Lebron. No player should go down like that, especially so close to finishing their career