Blogtable: Blame For Kobe’s Injury

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Kobe’s fate | Lakers’ plans | The blame game


Did Kobe return too soon from his Achilles' tear?

Did Kobe return too soon from his Achilles’ tear? (Andrew Bernstein/NBAE)

Whose fault is Kobe’s injury? Could it have been avoided?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I’m not blaming Bryant for coming back too soonDerrick Rose took a whole season off and look what happened. The Lakers had to rely on Bryant’s assessment of the risks vs. the rewards, so no reason to fault them there. What I do take issue with is the zeal, the irrational exuberance, with which management committed $48 million to Bryant in that contract extension, limiting their payroll and roster flexibility while bidding against exactly no one for PR purposes. That has blown up on them, taking its place in the Bad Decision Hall of Same alongside the Trojans and that wooden horse, and the folks who greenlighted “Gigli.”

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Kobe was aggressive yet cautious in going through a full throttle rehabilitation on his torn Achilles’ tendon.  He was under the guidance of the Lakers medical team all the way.  Kobe felt he was ready to play and they felt he was ready to play.  Let’s not go completely over the edge with second-guessing.  Sometimes injuries just happen.  Especially when you’re 35.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Chances are this was just a freak thing that happens, much like the fractured leg Steve Nash suffered early last season. Did Kobe come back too soon? Did he play too much, logging 32, 32 and 33 minutes in the last three games of four-in-five-nights stretch? We just can’t answer that. What’s imperative now is that Kobe fully recover from this second injury, get his body right and refrain from playing Superman once he returns in an attempt to make a late charge into a playoff spot. Be satisfied by overcoming this adversity and set sights on next season and beyond.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Stuff happens. If it comes out that someone knew Bryant should not have played in the fourth quarter and that using him made the injury worse, there are serious problems. But if this was the same injury that could happen to any player in any game, as it seems, no fault.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I’m not a doctor, so I have no idea and it would be silly for me to speculate.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: This is just bad karma, a black cat hanging around the Staples Center or the basketball Gods balancing the scales on the Lakers back for all those banners. But this is a no-fault situation. Freak injuries cannot be avoided, not even when there is a small mountain of evidence that suggests otherwise. To see Kobe’s comeback short-circuited in this way, however, no doubt raises concerns that he maybe pushed things a bit. Derrick Rose will be called to testify to the folly of that theory. Kobe could have given himself all the time in the world to recover from that Achilles injury and still taken that one false step and fractured his knee anyway. Since cooler heads never prevail in these instances, though, let’s slice up the blame pie three ways. Kobe, the Lakers and the rest of us all deserve our fair share for wanting him back more than we cared about the physical ramifications a player past his physical prime could face trying to circumvent conventional wisdom in regards to his recovery. We freaked out every time he took a step without a limp, gawked when he ran on the ant-gravity treadmill, got googly-eyed flushed a meaningless dunk in practice and hailed his “early” return to live action. The man is a mere mortal, and not a figment of our foolish imaginations in terms of what even the greatest of our athletic superstar heroes seem to be. Ultimately, there’s no fault to be assigned and absolutely no way to avoid the fact that even the fanciest of sports cars break down over the course of time.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com: If I’ve learned anything in 15 years covering the NBA (debatable, I know) it’s that you never question injuries. And while it’s human nature to second-guess something like this, there’s no way to know who to blame or how to blame or whatever. Stuff happens. And sometimes that sucks. Nature of the beast, though.

48 Comments

  1. hoopkid says:

    I blame the trainers. Non-contact injuries happen because of movement dysfunction. When this many Laker players are injured this often blaming bad luck is just lazy and moronic.

  2. Nerf-Basketball-GM says:

    Brand Jordan feels like house slippers
    and they wear down fast.. Not bad if
    you can afford a new pair every game
    but for the novice player, we have no
    choice, so its Nike, Adidas or Reebok
    Personally, I prefer the latter or the J’s

  3. Nerf-Basketball-GM says:

    I blame cheap sneakers !!
    I blame Adidas for D. Rose
    I blame Nike for Rondo
    ..and B. Roy, now Kobe.?
    LeBron plays in full length Zoom Air

  4. Flex says:

    There actually is something to blame, the court cleaning guys…When watching back the video it looked like Kobe slipped and over extended his leg. Those damn court cleaning guys need to get it right, where is Donald T. when you need him…

  5. rcast says:

    GO CLIPPERS

  6. Gillsy says:

    Yes there is someone to blame when people are noticing that the muscle in one leg is visibly smaller than the other meaning he wasn’t ready to come back he should of had more weeks off to build the leg up more. Than he plays roughly 30 mins a night every game for what was it 6 games in 10 days. Yes the injury could have happened to anyone but all of those things aren’t a recipe for success. If we all remember Kobe’s minutes prior to his injury trying to make the playoffs last year people then blamed for his down fall. But Kobe makes his own decisions, Like Chuck said in the talk about Kobe you can have as much drive as you want but when you start to get to his age you have to listen to your body as well. The person he should start to model himself after is Ray Allen. Plays 20- 30 minutes a night, but who was it that James looked for in the finals to hit the big shot and begged to come to the team to play with him Allen. But Kobe puts so much pressure on himself to put up big numbers cause he takes so much cash.

    • tan thuan kee says:

      when Kobe is finally done in the NBA he could always play in the Philippines. He will probably average 50 ppg

  7. kittykat says:

    I live in L.A, and have watched Kobe and the Lakers for years. I used to be a super fan of this club, but no more. I respect Kobe’s talent and drive, but that doesn’t make the playoffs, does it? The Clippers are a far more exciting team that actually has a chance in the playoffs now with Doc at the helm. This injury is nobody’s fault except Father Time’s. Like it or not, Kobe is aging and it will be the new blood, like Jordan Hill and X, who will make them great again.

  8. dunkmycat7 says:

    Just another washed up Laker …Who cares ?

  9. lakers tank says:

    eer
    December 20, 2013 at 3:52 am
    Wasted? And you dont think that Lakers will make more than 45 mill on kobe? Kobe stands for all of their jersey sales, tickets, endorsements, TV ratings. 45 mill is nothing compared what they make on him if he is playing.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    that is so true but people cannot understand that simple logic.

  10. eddie says:

    i dont get why everyone thinks hes done? WHEN KOBE SAYS HES DONE THEN HE WILL BE DONE! ITS NOT UP TO YOU FANS TO DECIDE WHAT KOBE DOES

  11. Ron says:

    GO Spurs and Popovich,
    This organization has the guts to stand up against Stern.
    They rest older players as they should.

  12. Ron says:

    Lot of people out there doing construction, farming, going to the factory…..who have injuries and no insurance………
    This is sad for Kobe, but he will be fine.
    He was played way too much by coaches. He wanted too,Coach /Training staff should have minimized his minutes.
    But…the show must go on…

  13. theaandthea says:

    no one to blame, but maybe kobe just has to accept his age, maybe a 30 years old kobe can try to come back fast with a lot of minutes, a 35 years old body has to be more careful. adrenalyne and the “man i’m finally on the court” feeling make a player push more physically. be 120% ready to play hard because at 101% you get injured.

  14. Drago says:

    He will be injurie prone for the rest of his carrier this is how it starts.The only way to make some use of him is to restrict his minutes and role in the Lakers in the same way Reggie Miller did it in his last couple of seasons.

  15. jayveebrown says:

    bad luck hit LAL again……MIke & Mitch should try to ask Phil Jackson to do some Buddhist prayers to drive away the bad spirits in Lakers locker room….

  16. Truth teller says:

    And Furthermore…
    P.S. (In case you thought so) KOBE RETIRING does not make Lebron the best ever. Lebron right now is who he is because the BUSINESS of basketball needs him to be. With all of the traveling, charging, the missed calls (fouls) and the fake and ticky tack free throw appearances are all just to have something going until the coming of the next Kobe i.e. the next Michael Jordan. (I hated Jordan) But everything about him said winner/champion. His attitude, his play style, the way he carried himself. That “tag your it” confidence he moved around with that said, “I’m going to win” . And when you came in contact with him (TAG), you believed him. The eye of the tiger, that relentless spirit. That it’s not over till it’s over go hard play style. Game winners and buzzer beaters. The relentless offensive tears. They are torn from a different cloth. That cloth is still out there, it just has not been touched since Kobe. At best we saw the next Magic Johnson.

  17. Kobe is 110% to blame. He wanted to rush back and prove everybody wrong and all he proved was that he was human like the rest of us. He should have waited till next season. At 35, Father time throws a mean left hook.

  18. Kobe is 110% to blame. He wanted to rush back and prove everybody wrong and all he proved was that he was human like the rest of us. He should have waited till next season, at 35, you don’t heal as quickly and it takes a lot more to get back to playing form.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Unfortunately, I agree. I don’t think he should have sat the whole season, but he DID play 4 games in 5 nights… A little too much, and logged pretty heavy minutes. Should have sat on 1 back to back, played less minutes. But hey, we are just speculators. Who knows if that would have made a difference.

  19. Rob says:

    It is “Who” is to blame — who being the subject of the sentence, not the object.

  20. Game Time says:

    The NBA scheduling and commissioner are to blame. Never did I see so many stars injured during the 80s and 90’s. Notice that all these injuries started mounting up when the 2nd lockout happened and the increased those back to back games.

    • 36yrfan says:

      ….back to backs are brutal for teams……especially when you get back to backs with ONLY one day in between ……4 games in 5 days/nights is just stoooooopid!!…….. I really think the coach should not have put him back in that game ………as a precautionary measure….just sayin’ ………if there is ANY blame to be handed out it would be that(along with the trainers of course)

  21. tanny says:

    Kobe should have played limited minutes throughout the games but coming back from a serious injury and his age is big factor. This new injury will be be a psychological blow but I hope he comes back stronger not for the global marketing of the NBA but as a great athlete he is… It does not help the lakers management giving him a contract extension but the NBA has to see through the hundreds of millions of dollars each season they make by concentrating on other players less fortunate in salary but can also compete like the kobe’s, lebron’s, wade’s. We need more latino, spanish, asian, NBA players to make it a fair league…

    • Ron says:

      Fair, not sure what basketball you want to watch. just get the best players, regardless ethnic group or background.

  22. Truth teller says:

    I wish the people that don’t understand the current cba stop talking money. Kobe signed an extension not a max contract. Which means they can still sign up 1 max contract and 1 big contract and 3 med. ones. And stay under cap. And even if they go over cap they don’t care they currently have like 3 other plans in place now to make that money back if they do. Understand that the Lakers are one of the most loved Basketball teams world wide. They make so much more money than the other teams overall behind closed doors that the tax was put in place for them. For them to share more of the profits with the NBA and more notably the other teams. As of now the Lakers have 3 big contracts 2 med. ones and a bunt load of small ones. And they currently have one of the best benches in the NBA. Money to spend, a reputation of winning, the best bench in the league, and Stars on their last legs. Sounds like a free agents paradise.

  23. Boyan says:

    It is not important what Kobe signed, and how much he will get, is he going to be waived……or whatever. Kobe is old and his carrier is over. He got 2 major injuries, without any pressure, or collision on the court, literarly while he was walking. OK, he will get back in 6 weeks, but the same thing would happen any moment while he practices or plays the game. He can try to get back again and again, but he is over with his NBA carrier, as playing in NBA is big challenge for body, and his body can not take that any more. It is reality.

  24. Leroy says:

    Its his damn shoes!

  25. tanibanana says:

    Nobody should be blame.. but he should take the entire season as rest..
    With the West competition level, I doubt Lakers can even finish at 10,
    with Kobe going to rest again for 6-weeks…
    Play next season instead.

  26. Another Heat Fan says:

    I don’t see how Kobe can retire and just leave 48.5 million dollars.

    At the same time, I really don’t see how the Lakers are going to get their money’s worth out of that contract.

    Erm…can they waive + retire him?
    Like waive him, and let their be a league wide unwritten consensus that no one pick him up.
    Then the money would be like a going away gift, which is fair as he’s brought the lakers much more over the years.

  27. Noah says:

    I think “whom” is not the correct pronoun.

  28. kobeballhog says:

    who else? its kobe, by wanting to be the one and only superstar and alpha of his lakers, wanna hold the ball all the time, wanna score all the time, doesnt want to be the robin of batman, so glad dwight left, as long as kobe is there the lakers wiill never land any big name superstar, who wants to play with the ultimate me and only me player ever?

  29. Well the issue is that Kobe didn’t play for months & was trying to get back in shape in a vey fast gear!

    C’mon playing more than 30 min a game, that was too much. Maybe the achilles was not affected by it but he forgot that other parts of the body are involved in the (playing) process too!!! Kobe is still one of the best we got in the league but he is not 20 years anymore. His game was terrible to watch since he came back (Fran Blinebury you were very right with your comments yesterday!!). Playing PG is not his thing.

    I know the pressure is very high and Lakers mngt & fans want to see results but this was a little bit irresponsible. D’Antoni should have bring him slowly and step on the gas after the All Star Break for a run on a playoff spot.

    So player, coach & organization should have known better!

  30. jake s. says:

    sooo.. no one is at fault? Seems like a silly article.

  31. Eaglos says:

    Just tell him that he must come from the bench and play 10-15 minutes tops.
    Clearly he too thick to understand that so he must be told.

  32. dustydreamnz says:

    Noone is to blame, he will be back in 6 weeks.

  33. Galford says:

    i love kobe but if he need to sit down for the rest of the season its ok . the new laker line up will improve.. Let go of Pau and Nash

  34. let him play says:

    hater alert hater alert ^

  35. Jill says:

    Its the right time to retire. It is sad to see a great player be hanging on when his body does not respond anymore. Dignity first and search for a position of coaching or team office. He has the experience and talent to interact with people. Going back to the court will create pressure to the team players. Without Kobe the team was responding quite well to the coaching staff. They were winning games and adjusting to each other. Kobe came and everything crumbled because of his big ego to show the world that he still owns the team and superstar status. Father Time respect. Forty five million dollars wasted!!!!!!!

    • kobe fan says:

      YOUR WRONG. DERRICK ROSE IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD RETIRE. MORE MONEY WASTED ON HIM. NO RINGS

    • eer says:

      Wasted? And you dont think that Lakers will make more than 45 mill on kobe? Kobe stands for all of their jersey sales, tickets, endorsements, TV ratings. 45 mill is nothing compared what they make on him if he is playing.

      • Denholm says:

        hahaha yeah because its wasted money to bet on an MVP who is still very young on a contending team, get real, kobe is done.

    • KDfan says:

      Right on Jill. Right on Sekou for splitting the blame three ways. Only, I would rearrange the order: Blame the Media, Lakers and Kobe in that order. When will players also become level-headed and realize that team, organization and the league come ahead of themselves. Kobe should have retired when he was at the highest point of his career, when he tore his Achilles last year. Now he has to hear experts on national TV say that he’s not a mamba but an ordinary garden snake. It’s still not too late Kobe, you can retire. You are neither broken nor beaten. A graceful exit is so much better. As much as the media can build you up, the same people will not hesitate to sink you too.
      A bottom to top building of any team results in stronger and long-term results. It’s the law of nature, strong roots equals an even stronger tree (team). Admire what the Spurs organization and coach Popovich have achieved. They’ve created a great legacy. OKC Thunder is doing the same. Very little coverage is given to this in the media because winning, ranking, power ratings are all that the media, and some organizations want. Don’t believe the media when they say, “We give the fans what they want”. Don’t pick winners and losers, let the play decide that. Look at how the Nets owner bought players from all over thinking he could win an instant championship. The Lakers organization is short sighted as well. Throwing money at things does not achieve the right results. Please do things the right way. Young kids are involved in the NBA. The media and NBA owe it to the fans to do the right things and report without bias and political correctness, for the league to thrive.

    • KOB says:

      whats the word “hate him or love him for the same reason” thats the type of person kobe is. i mean his love for the game and desire to get back on the court is incredible. the dude just want to play the game and win, he got 5 and god damn right its possible to get 6, y’all see what i mean. kobe wasnt there to prove anything to nobody, he’s out there not for the media, not for u or me, he out there to play ball. so shame on y’all people for trynna make him retire. if kobe is to retire, it would be when he want to, not cause people and media tells him to. just watch him for now and RESPECT his decision.