Bryant, Lakers Try To Endure Again


VIDEO: Teammate Steve Nash talks about Kobe’s latest setback

Among the many things immediately unclear around the Lakers – whether the old Achilles’ tendon injury had any bearing on the new knee injury, whether playing on the wounded knee worsened the condition, why someone with a voodoo doll and enough needles to fill Staples Center hates the franchise so much – one thing had emerged as painfully clear by Thursday afternoon, emphasis on painfully:

This isn’t fair.

Even the strongest Kobe Bryant detractors have to concede that much, right? He has been a monastic worker since arriving in the NBA in the summer of 1996, part of his refusal to give in to any opponent, even ones not playing for another team, making conditioning such a priority that it became one of the divisive issues when Shaquille O’Neal increasingly did not match the commitment… and now his body is doing the one thing Kobe himself would never do. Give up.

Rookies blow out Achilles’ tendons, as Bryant did eight months ago, and teenagers fracture their knee, as he did Tuesday night in Memphis, and so the reaction that he is obviously breaking down from advanced age is rush to judgement that may not be founded in fact. It could just be incredibly bad luck.

It is impossible to avoid the cruelty, though. Even with a troublesome right knee that resulted in jetting to Germany for a unique treatment, even with needing to skip most every full practice for months, even with the torn tendon just above the left knee, Bryant played 240 of a possible 252 regular-season and playoff games the previous three seasons. Ninety-five percent.

This season, he missed the original target of being back for opening night, but still returned about eight months after the Achilles’ injury, right within the window for a player of any age. Bryant did it at 35, struggled to shake the rust (42.5 percent from the field, 6.3 assists against 5.67 turnovers) but still averaged 29.5 minutes. Six games into the comeback, he hurt the knee on the same leg.

Bryant was hurt in the third quarter Tuesday at FedEx Forum while making a move inside on Memphis’ Tony Allen. The Lakers called timeout, Bryant stayed in the game, before being replaced 37 seconds later. Then he played 6 minutes 35 seconds in the fourth quarter, finishing at 32:38 in the 96-92 win that got L.A. to 12-13 and saying afterward the knee was hyperextended.

Thursday afternoon, the Lakers announced that an MRI earlier in the day showed a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau. Bryant would be back on the shelf for another six weeks or so.

It could be that no one or nothing is to blame. Mike D’Antoni will get abused anyway simply for being the coach when the Lakers are far from title contention – Mike Brown says hi! – but it’s not on D’Antoni to interpret medical charts. If he was told Bryant was OK to go back for the fourth quarter in Memphis, Bryant was OK to go back. D’Antoni would not risk the season to win a December game if there was the suggestion of real damage to the knee. (Pau Gasol and Jim Buss, the head of basketball operations, will get abused too, just because.)

The part about what’s next for the Lakers is more definite.

Remember a couple weeks ago? That’s what is next.

The Lakers are back to trying to fill the void, trying to hang on as the new countdown starts, just as they did while going 10-9 in the first absence and Xavier Henry, asked if he thinks the league took notice at L.A. being above .500 without its best player, said, “I hope so. I hope they took notice of how we fight.” If everyone didn’t notice the last time, they will get another chance.

Now, the Lakers are down to their fifth-string point guard, with Henry scheduled to start Friday against the Timberwolves at Staples Center, before a trip to Oakland to match up with Stephen Curry and Phoenix for Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. Good news for the return to Los Angeles, though. No particularly dangerous point guard will be waiting. Only LeBron James and the Heat.

Projected starter Steve Nash is still out, reserve Steve Blake is out, reserve Jordan Farmar is out and Bryant, the emergency starter at the point, is out. Henry is next up the hill. Adding to the agony, the Lakers also announced Thursday that Nash, who two weeks ago was expressing optimism about his rehabilitation from nerve damage in the back, will be out at least another month.

34 Comments

  1. @bullsfandan says:

    Bryant is weak. He twisted his foot and he is out half the year. Ouch my foot hurts.

  2. MW says:

    At least LA still has one very good team….GO CLIPPS!!

  3. Alien says:

    No im not a Kobe hater im just a JAZZ FAN at his best

  4. Alien says:

    LETS GO JAZZ

  5. Alien says:

    Retire Kobe NOW IS THE TIME TO LEAVE WITH GRACE AND FORGIVENESS

  6. Alien says:

    Kobe’s success is based on the suppression of other players careers that had the unfortunate experience of being a Laker while they pushed forth their poster boy idiot child with a truly ugly nose. LOL other than that I love Kobe He is the best player to ever put on a D-League uniform.

  7. Alien says:

    without Shaq Kobe never learns to get a pat on the back. with out Shaq the titles Kobe won were mere set ups much like the last two in Miami. Put an honest team together and go win a title and stop praising a cheap organization for skills and victories provided by big money set ups and for the love of God stop calling that wannabe a legend. KOBE IS NO LEGEND anyone can score 28 points a night if they take 50 shots

  8. Alien says:

    Kobe needs to go. He has been worthless and has yet to win an honest title. Give 10 of those 16 titles to the Zebras and the other six to magic and the other few true legends they once knew in that corrupt lost angels society that will one day fall into the ocean. I’ll take Karl Malone on a team today before Kobe the rapist

  9. cw says:

    It doesn’t really matter — Lakers aren’t going anywehere with or without Kobe….

  10. TheMan says:

    People need to realize he is a true competitor. Anyone could have taken this injury. True his age may have some to do wit it. But he knows his body best. Not you, not I. He does. If he decided to play till he was 40 that would be his right, as long as he is productive. There are many talents in the NBA that aren’t talents at all. So don’t disgrace a true legend, watch him while you have a chance.

  11. isack says:

    you got the whole nba front page covered with news about kobe..
    editors, GIVE IT A REST WILL YOU????

  12. Lol says:

    I think this is a Big reminder for Kobe to finally hang up his jersey and know he is too fragile for the grind type of play in the NBA. I like his desire and motivation but those are useless if you have an aging body.

  13. JESS says:

    Ive been a laker fan for ever and ive only been to 2 games my hole life one of them was the day Kobe was suspended for a fight that had happened and the verry next game shaq wore his jersey at the beginning of the starting line up the second game was December 10 2013 they played the suns and lost but to finally be able to see KOBE before he retires was one of the most exiting things i have ever done. people’s bucket list consist of visiting the most exotic country’s or doing some thing crazy but for me was going to go see Kobe Bryant for the fist time.

  14. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Perfect little dream, the kind that hurts the most, forgot how it feels, well almost
    No one to blame, always the same
    Open my eyes,
    Wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up in flames

    It took you to make me realize, it took you to make me see the light

    Smashed up my sanity, smashed up integrity, smashed up what I believe in, smashed up what’s left of me, smashed up my everything, smashed up all that was true, gonna smash myself to pieces, I don’t know what else to do

    Covered with hope and vaseline, still cannot fix this broken machine
    Watching this hole, it used to be mine
    Just watching it burn in my steady, systematic decline
    of the trust
    I will betray
    Give it to me, I throw it away
    After everything I’ve done, I hate myself for what I’ve become

    It took you to make me realize, it took you to make me see the light

    Smashed up my sanity, smashed up integrity, smashed up what I believed in, smashed up what’s left of me, smashed up my everything, smashed up all that was true, gonna smash myself to pieces, I don’t know what else to do

    I tried, I gave up, I tried, I gave up, I tried, I gave up,
    I tried, and I gave up.

  15. Mark says:

    Time for the selfish an to shut it down. And the Lakers have to pay another 50 Mil. What a joke. He is done plus no one wants to play with him. Time to ride off into the Sunset. He will have all the time in the world to Perdue his other love. Infidelity.

  16. JR Williams says:

    Kobe should consider scouting and persuading any available talent in the league to join him in the bright lights of Los Angeles before he runs himself into the ground.

    Should the Lakers shelve Kobe for the remainder of the season? If Kobe is less than 100 percent I’d say yes but if he is fully capable of playing, I doubt anyone can persuade him not to step on the court. Kobe is highly competitive, it’s in his DNA – if he could play on one leg he would.

    http://sportsunbiased.com/nba/22021/kobe-bryant-will-return-but-the-lakers-have-deeper-issues/#sthash.HzBjXQ4i.dpuf

  17. Watchman says:

    Kobe didn’t wanna see the heat on Christmas lol

  18. kobeballhog says:

    there you go with your 24 million a year in the dumps. so yeah the franchise is run by not 12 year olds, but 10 year olds.

  19. asd says:

    I just hope he doesn’t end up like D-Rose or Greg Oden, who skip the season after they catch a cold… No matter how much people hate the Lakers and Kobe(and a lot of them do), the NBA needs Kobe, he is still a legend…

    • chalice says:

      Kobe is a legend and will remain a legend. I don’t think the NBA needs him though. Kobe is big but not as big as the NBA or even the Laker franchise. Players come and go. The league survived Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc… retiring and they will survive Kobe retiring. I dont blame Kobe to taking the contract becuase why should he say no to more money (he obviously wants the money more than the 6th ring). I blame the training staff for this injury! Why no one blames the doctors and trainers who cleared Kobe to play is a mystery to me

  20. FIRE MIKE D ANTONI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. bon calaunan says:

    yes maybe try to bring back Andrew Bynum… or coach Lionell Hollins of memphis for coaching.

    • 36yrfan says:

      …..Hollins…….interesting……..and he is lookin’ for work…..but Bynum???? no way….his knees are a problem as well……

  22. D WADE says:

    Sad to see where the Lakers franchise is heading. This same team won the championship three years ago and made the playoffs 2 years ago. One offseason move that ruined the franchise’s future, DWIGHT HOWARD. Coach Mike Brown was a million times better than what Mike D’Antoni. Mike Brown took the Lakers to the third seed. What has Mike D’Antoni done? seventh seed. Really? This is the franchise with 16 championships. Lakers should try to get back Andrew Bynum. Try putting Nick Young instead of Jodie Meeks because Young is better than Meeks. I honestly don’t get Mike D’Antoni’s Lineups. Just hope to see Kobe come back to form and Lakers firing Mike D’Antoni. They can hire former Grizzlies coach or Vinny Del Negro.

    • Maybe because the people running the Lakers franchise aren’t twelve years old unlike you, and can remember much further back than a mere 3 years. They are at the final phase of Kobe’s career. They could have amnestied him and either traded for an immediate shot at the title or start the rebuilding process. They chose to stick with Kobe to the end, so that other superstars may be enticed to join to reap the benefits of being a Laker legend. They also know Kobe would never, ever play the tank game, so they pick up a couple injured players on the cheap and bring in a coach who can put on a show and get you to the playoffs (D’antoni).

      These aren’t moves to win another championship with Kobe at the reign. These are moves to give him a graceful retirement. Please consider the possibility that the people who are in charge have a much more vested interested, are exponentially more knowledgeable, and are simply older and wiser than you are before you make an idiot out of yourself.

      • Mitch says:

        Easily the greatest thing I have read all day… I thank you from the bottom of my heart onlyrespondstoidiots

      • enufsaid says:

        and you are an idiot for replying to him. DUMB and DUMBER.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        “Exponentially more knowledgeable?” Wow, full of yourself, much? Why not “geometrically more knowledgeable?”

        You realize “geometrically more knowledgeable” would make more logical sense, right?

        Consider if IQ can be measured with integers … thus, geometrically-measured, not exponentially-measured.

        Please consider that the Laker organization doesn’t know what they’re doing. You don’t pay a person 25 million a year just to have a “graceful retirement.” There is a business side to the NBA. They dumped 25 million a year down the drain to a hasbeen that may never be able to play at 100% ever again at the NBA level.

        Kobe Bryant is a dying star — a white dwarf headed toward a black hole.

        As far as him getting injured again, I saw this coming a mile away. Simply put: he came back way too early. He should’ve taken the whole season to rehab so that he could be 100% next season. Now, he’s jeopardized next season.

      • hi says:

        You just made the entire Lakers franchise sound so much more noble and clever. Kudos to you

    • yyyy says:

      D WADE you clearly dont know that your talking about, and d’antoni did start young in the beginning of the season but moved him to the bench because he wasnt a productive starter, meeks was!

      and Mike Brown had a healthy kobe, healthy gasol, healthy bynum, a productive world peace the list just goes on.

      Go watch some laker games instead of pretending to a be a fan, idiot!