Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 4:45 pm  |  51 responses

Kobe Bryant Out 6-9 Months With Torn Left Achilles

As expected, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant will miss the rest of the season. Bryant underwent surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon this afternoon. Optimistically, the Lakers hope that Kobe will be ready to go by opening night of the 2013-’14 season. GM Mitch Kupchak told reporters that the team has not discussed the possibility of amnestying Kobe Bryant, who is owed an NBA-high $30.4 million next season: “Third-degree rupture,’ said Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti of Saturday morning’s MRI results. ‘It’s gone. It has to be sewn back together.’ Vitti said that the plan is to have Bryant ready to play for the start of next season, providing a rough timetable of six to nine months. ‘He’ll be immobilized for quite awhile – a month or more,’ Vitti explained. ‘Then like anything else, he’ll start working on strength and range of motion. This isn’t something you want to speed up or accelerate. You don’t want to lengthen the tendon too soon because then that destroys the repair. It’s a very delicate process of getting the strength and length back into the tendon without overloading it too soon. [...] Obviously when something like this happens, everybody wants to know why. And there’s not always a reason why. If you look at our season, it’s been a nightmare. [...] To say he was injured because he played 48 minutes the last however many games is a stretch. Lots of guys rupture their Achilles tendons and don’t play 48 minutes. To make that correlation isn’t fair. We’ve just had a very bad luck season, but we’re not done. Kobe showed some tremendous guts out there hitting the two free throws that kept us in the game, and eventually we won the game. The kid went up there with a torn Achilles tendon and buried two free throws. I think it’s a big inspiration to our players and we’re ready to play the next two games.’ On if he’ll be back by the beginning of the next season: Vitti: ‘That’s the plan. (Timetable recovery they said is six to nine months).’ Q: On the severity of the injury: Vitti: ‘There are no good Achilles tendon ruptures. Third-degree rupture. It’s gone. It has to be sewn back together.’ Q: On what makes him believe Kobe can win this battle: Vitti: ‘I said to him last night this is just another challenge in your life. The game of basketball comes too easy for you, so you need these things. The best thing you can do for us, as media, is say things like: ‘He can’t do it.’ That will force him to do it. He’s already taken the challenge. He’s already made the decision today to have the surgery. For us, it’s trying to keep him down and trying to slow him down.’”

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  • JML-G

    rip Lakers… Kobe, MWP, Nash, Gasol, Jamison all done, Dwight got another MAJOR reason not to stay.. give the team keys to Meeks ;)

  • Lloyd

    Dude should retire. End on a season where he played incredible. No telling how he’ll be coming back after this.


    If Kobe Bryant comes back next season he will be absolutely @ his best!

    Age is just a number

  • The Seed

    He will be back for the start of the season. This book has already been written and the pages are turning as we speak. Kobe is setting evreyone up, with his rant and anger. He will be back, he will not have to retire like the great Zeke had to and others. Mamba will be Vino again. BOOK IT!!

  • VanCityBBall

    hopefully the guy who estimated his length of injury is the same guy who told MWP he was going to be out 6-8 weeks… but if this is the end of this season’s Mamba what an anti-climatic way to go out…

  • underdog

    Suddenly, it doesn’t really matter, if the Lakers make the playoffs or not.

  • Caboose

    Yes, a number which happens to mean a lot to athletes.

  • Caboose

    It’s a sad thing to see this happen. I’m curious though, from a legacy standpoint, what should Kobe do?

    Pros: Goes out on a stellar season, doesn’t have to lose in the Playoffs, career stats stay intact without decline
    Cons: Last season involved drama, (likely) didn’t make the Playoffs

    Come back as soon as possible
    Pros: Maintain tough guy image, add to Career Points total
    Cons: Likely won’t be playing 100%, could hurt Lakers

    Take off remainder of 2013, possibly some of 2014
    Pros: Extends career as long as possible, add to Career Points total
    Cons: Misses large chunk of season, may miss Playoffs (again)

    I honestly don’t know from a legacy standpoint what is best. It’s interesting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    There’s no way, with his mentality, he will let the last game of his career be a 3-injury regular season win against the Warriors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    I don’t think he’ll be ready by October. That is the best case scenario. I think, with something like this, it would make more sense to have a Christmas return. But again, really depends on his rehab and how quickly he recovers.

    Personally, returning Christmas makes most sense. Rushing through to meet October will probably result in re-injury.

  • Caboose


  • The Philosopher

    I believe that he’ll be back.
    I believe that he should hang it up, though.
    This happening to him. Right now… there is something heroic about it.
    Reminds me of when the Rockets carried Deke Mutombo off of the battlefield in dramatic, heroic fashion.

  • The Philosopher

    Good topic of conversation. In my opinion.

  • Caboose

    Have any thoughts?

  • The Philosopher

    I think it would be heroic if he retired.

  • RKJ92

    Your so dumb.. like mountain goat dumb.

  • RKJ92

    I think he should either hang em’ up and call it a crazy career, or maybe come back as a solid starter with a pay cut and seriously hand over the reigns because I highly doubt he will be the same player after this.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    No way in the world.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    Interesting choice between whether he comes back or retires. It could be a blessing in disguise for the Lakers. Let’s say he misses half on next season, and they re-sign Howard. They could build their offense around Howard and work Kobe in when he comes back. The whole passing of the torch won’t be as dramatic.

  • The Seed

    I will prey for you, that you meet the bear.

  • The Seed

    Kobe is not retiring. He likes the fact that people think he will retire. Its a set up from his stand point now. Watch and see. Dude is in better shape than most NBA players. Have anyone ever in their 17 year in the NBA played at his level. Kobe should come back Christmas time, but Lakers need some changes next season. Howard needs to find some heart, Nash needs some courage and Pau needs to keep his mind in the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainman1991 Saleem Rainman

    He wont be 100%, but he can definitely still be a 20 + point scorer, and come back at around 80-80 % of what he was this year. But even this year he shot 44%, thats likely to drop in all likelihood to a mediocre 40-42%. And btw? Nash find some courage? Just give him the ball. And watch the rest :) You, as a Lakers guy, should know all about what that man is capable of when healthy And im not even referring to his injury riddled season with the Lakers this year ;)

  • LobCity

    “Maintain tough guy image” lol…..He won’t retire but he definitely won’t worry about his image. He’s been hurt several times and played through some pain but this is a serious injury. You don’t rush back from this injury. His work ethic will help him get back to form but it will have nothing to do with how his body responds. That’s where the estimate comes into play (6-9 months). One thing to consider is the time off will put him at risk for other injuries and its gonna take time to get back to form, ex: Chauncy Billups. At least it Happed this year and not a year where they would actually contend for a title.
    He’ll be back by next all star break

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    hes too stubborn. he just added something in his something to prove list.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    meeks? you got to be on one.

  • Sergio

    44 percent?he shot 46.3, which is pretty good.

  • FLIGHT 9

    retire then come back after two season…. SO THEIR IS THE MJ COMPARISON…. Seriously, it sucks.. as much as I dont want them to win it sucks seeing guys get injured… hope to see you soon mamba!

  • Bubbles

    League has changed. The pg position is too loaded with quick scoring PG’s for Nash to be relevant since he can’t defend anyone.

    Also stop adding smiley faces to every statement. You aren’t a woman. Stop.

  • The Philosopher

    Hey, you may be right.

  • The Philosopher

    I don’t think he’ll retire, either.
    He is a gamer if there ever was one in the history of NBA basketball.

  • pposse

    there is 0 chance that Kobe retires imo. Isn’t he owed 30 million dollars next yr? nobody just sneezes away that type of $.

  • Lloyd

    I’d rather quit at the top of my game than come back with something to prove like Jordan did and tarnish the legacy I built.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    i was hoping for a miracle today with the MRI. was not too be..wish a speedy recovery..thanks mike! you did a great job this year! much appreciated!

  • http://twitter.com/trueballer4lif1 Melvin flynt

    the bean will retire on his terms hes not going out like that no way!

  • roscoe

    i heard the LAL trainer on NBA TV say…

    “kb24 showed guts knocking down 2 FT with a torn Achilles.”

    Let there be no doubt… kb24 is one tough son of u know what.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    For the record, this is something a mountain goat would say

  • Max


  • dookie

    How is Jordan’s legacy tarnished? He is still universally considered the GOAT. Sure, there’s a little asterisk next to it, but it’s far from tarnished. Jordan had nothing to prove during his second comeback. He simply did it for the love of the game.

    I think Kobe still has something to prove, mostly to himself. There’s no way he’s going out like this, especially after he watches his team get swept in the first round and feeling so helpless.

    It would be best to comeback next year and try to defeat his inner monsters once and for all (while he still has something in the tank and the motivation is still fresh), rather than hang them up and try to settle “unfinished business” a couple of years later, not realising he is too damn old.

    But who knows…Kobe has tried to be MJ’s carbon copy from day one so he will probably end up making a comeback just before he turns 40 anyway.

  • Ugh

    ‘Nique tore his achilles at age 32. The next season his FG%, 3%, FTA and PPG all went up. He averaged 29ppg the next season.

    The numbers you posted there are completely arbitrary. Stop making s^%& up because you like the sound of your own typing, dude.

  • RedRum

    I am not a fan of Kobe. In my rating he does not even crack top 10. Probably one of the most inefficient players ever. However, I really feel bad for him, he was so much fan to watch. He also inspired others with his competitiveness and work ethic, both unparallelled in the NBA. I hope to see him back next year.

  • Lloyd

    He came back because he’s competitive and wanted to prove that he could play the game at the highest level near the age of 40. Even though he played well, the Wizards finished 10th each year he played in. In one of those years, he didn’t even play the whole season due to injury. You’re saying his Wizard stint HELPED his career? No way. He was an unstoppable force when he played for the Bulls. On the Wizards, he looked like a mere man. That’s how he ended his playing career.

    Do you know what “tarnished” means? I’m not saying he’s not the GOAT, but the seasons with the Wizards definitely diminishes the legend that is Michael Jordan. Should’ve retired a champion and stayed that way.

  • dookie

    Do YOU know what tarnished means?

    During the Wizards years, Jordan became the only 40-year-old to average 20 points in a full season (after coming back from that injury you were talking about, nonetheless), and became the oldest player to score 40 and 50 points, respectively. How does a mere man do this?

    He didn’t come back to win a championship or to be an unstoppable force. As you mentioned, he came back because of his competitive fire and to prove he could still play with the best – which he did.

    The biggest negative from this stint would probably be that his career averages took a slight dip. But to say his entire legacy was tarnished?. If anything, this comeback only added to it. You’re acting as if he will only be remembered for his Wizards years. He didn’t retire as a champion – and everybody already knew that would happen as soon as he announced his comeback – but he did retire on his own terms.

    Back to Kobe – you really think that retiring not only as a non-champion, but also not on his own terms would HELP his legacy? If anything, not coming back next season would only “tarnish” his legacy, as he would not get a chance to get that 6th ring to match MJ, which everybody knows he desperately wants.

    If he comes back and does well, then everybody wins. If he comes back and he’s not the same Kobe, then so be it. At least he would know that it truly is the end. At least he would have tried and wasn’t a p*ssy too busy trying not to “tarnish” his legacy.

  • Lloyd

    The 40 and 50 point game are definitely great moments, but at the end of the day it’s just a fun stat. No one will list that in his extensive list of accolades compared to 6-time champ, 5-time MVP, 14-time All Star, and 10-time scoring champ.

    He retired on his own terms as a champion with the Bulls. The comeback was partly love of the game, partly ego. Tell Jordan he can’t do something, better believe he’s going to try and do it.

    Honestly, that team was terrible. There was 0 offense besides him and Rip (who Jordan helped trade off the next season). Being a good player on a crap team that can’t win doesn’t make you a legend, so why would it add to any legendary status? Also, this would explain why his scoring output was so high.

    “Tarnished: Make or become less valuable or respected”. You’re the only person I’ve ever heard say that Jordan’s stint with the Wizards has ENHANCED his legacy. Look up Michael Leahy quote from his book When Nothing Else Matters for the best description of his Wizard years.

    Jordan’s years on the Wizards and his woefully underwhelming excursions into front office work in the NBA both TARNISHED the legacy that is Michael Jordan. That doesn’t make the legacy any less great because it doesn’t exclude his years of dominance, but it waters the whole body of work down by having those mentioned on his resume.

    In regards to Kobe, dude has played 17 seasons, won 5 chips, 2 finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 2 Olympic gold medals, is a 15-time All-Star and has played through a ridiculous amount of injuries while consistently being one of the best players in the league throughout his entire career. 5 championships, not 6, definitely doesn’t tarnish a career. That’s still a monstrous 5 championships. If he retires now due to injury, ain’t NO ONE in their right mind going to call him a “pussy” seeing all the other injuries he’s fought through in his career.

    If his illustrious career ends due to circumstances outside of his control like an injury, in a season where he played extraordinary, then that’s not a bad thing. It’d be like Biggie and Tupac being gunned down in their primes. They’ll forever be known as two of the greatest rappers to ever do it. If they stayed alive and then put out more albums, and those albums didn’t do so good, wouldn’t that mess up their legacies? Same with Kobe. He’ll be remembered as one of the greatest if he quits at the level he’s playing at. He has nothing to prove by coming back for another year and potentially being worse and not even winning.

    If he comes back and he isn’t the same player with a way more diminished output and his team does WORSE than they did, how would that help his legacy?

  • Lloyd

    I typed a long response that Slam deleted. Here it is in point form:
    - Jordan came back for love of the game, but also ego
    - He was a great player on a team that had 0 other offensive (besides Rip, then Stack)

    -Being the best on a crap team doesn’t make you a legend, so why would it add to any existing legend?

    - He increased his career totals, yes, but those are just stats rather than legendary accolades such as his chips, scoring titles, all-star appearances etc, and therefore have little value.

    -He could’ve retired a champion on the team he played his career with, but instead retired as a frikkin Wizard who couldn’t even make the playoffs in a weak East. This is the Jordan kids who started watching the game then will remember, not the one they hear about.

    -Look up Michael Leahy’s book When Nothing Else Matters. There’s an incredible quote that sums up Jordan’s two years with the Wizards. If you’d like, I can post it for you.

    -Jordan’s losing stint with the Wizards tarnishes his legacy, as well as his woefully underwhelming excursions into front office work in the NBA

    -No one would call Kobe a pussy for retiring after 17 long and decorated seasons in the NBA where he played through a serious of injuries. He would finish off with an incredible personal season of statistical outputs rather than comeback and potentially be half the player he is on a team that MAY do worse than they did this year.

    -If he is forced to retire when he’s at his highest level, that’s how he’d always be remembered (much like Tupac and Biggie are considered the greatest rappers of all time since they were killed at their peaks. who knows how their next albums would have been and if they’d still be considered some of the greatest had they underwhelmed in the future)

  • Lloyd

    I wrote a response twice but Slam deleted it both times. Since I don’t want to type it again with same result, agree to disagree, even though you’re wrong:)

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez


  • dookie

    I actually saw one your responses, as it was awaiting moderation, and it was very flawed. No wonder Slam didn’t bother letting it through. Hey, I guess the damn filter does work!

  • Lloyd

    Please do tell me what the flaws were. Feel free to review the essays since they’re both posted up now for some reason:S

  • dookie

    - He was a great player on a team that had next to 0 other offensive threats, and they were still in the playoff picture. He helped his team win. How is this negative?

    - “Being the best on a crap team doesn’t make you a legend, so why would it add to any existing legend?” Look up LeBron vs. Pistons, Playoffs 2007. The best on a (relatively) crap team adding to his legend. Also, Jordan was the best on a crap team when he first started. I’m positive there are many more examples out there. This logic makes no sense.

    - He broke records and made 2 more all-star appearances. How do these accolades have little value?

    - If the kids who only started watching the game when Jordan played for the Wizards only remember this version of him, then those kids will turn out very stupid. Are you saying that kids who only started watching the game in 2001 will only remember the Toronto Raptor version of Hakeem Olajuwon?

    - Haven’t read the book. Feel free to post the quote.

    - Jordan’s losing stint with the Wizards ended with this:


    That was an away game by the way, in case you didn’t notice.

    I am not sure why you are bringing up Michael Jordan’s front office career. His legacy as a player and director/owner are two separate things.

    - You’re right, Kobe has fought through numerous injuries. So why not fight through it again one last time so he can finish on his own terms and give himself another shot at what will probably be the most meaningful title of his career?

    - Even if Kobe puts up the worst season of his career after coming back from injury, it will not be what he would be remembered for. Your perception of “legacy” is flawed. I don’t understand why you think that players are only remembered for their final season or their final “moment”.

    - I am not sure why you are comparing hip-hop and basketball legacies, as they are completely different from each other. But sure, if Tupac and Biggie underwhelmed for long enough, their legacies would be tarnished. But you really think that one potentially mediocre season is enough to tarnish a basketball legacy? If so, then most if not all the greats have “tarnished” legacies.

    I am not saying that his Wizards stint necessarily enhanced his legacy, but it sure didn’t tarnish it. “Maintained” would probably the best word. I still value and respect Jordan’s legacy as much as I did pre-Wizards, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, clearly evident from the video above.

    If you want an example of a legacy tarnished by its definition, see Lance Armstrong.

  • Lloyd

    Finishing 10th in the East in both years is helping his team win?

    Difference b/w Jordan on the Wizards and the examples that you said is Jordan didn’t help his crappy team win. Putting up great stats on a team that doesn’t accomplish anything doesn’t mean much (i.e. Chris Bosh on the Raps)

    In the scheme of his career and other accolades, those total career stats he added to don’t mean much. Matter of fact, his career averages were brought down in almost every category because of his Wiz years.

    That wasn’t what I meant with the kids. Just saying he went from being a championship calibre player and immediately came back to a 10th seed. That’s a huge and fast drop off which is pretty jarring. (Hakeem was a gradual decline so no one really expected anything great from him)

    Here’s parts of it: “Like an aging Hollywood leading man who acknowledges the inevitable and segues from being an action hero to a venerable character actor, Jordan had already become a niche player—cast in that least flamboyant of basketball roles, the jump shooter…Even working under his new limitations, he would remain one of the best
    20 to 25 players in the league, someone capable of abusing a highly
    touted youngster once in a while and holding his own against all but the
    game’s greatest. He just would be nothing close to the player

    That’s what I’m saying. Regardless of his great performance, he’s going up against the standard that he set for himself throughout his career. There was no way he would live up to it. It just went from exciting champ, to good jump shooter on a losing team. If those two seasons didn’t happen, the last view we’d have of Jordan is retiring at the top of his career, coming off an incredible 3-peat.

    And I include everything that Jordan does/did in his legacy, not just his playing days. That’s kind of the point isn’t it? The mark left of how someone is remembered (reputation)?

    The Lakers barely crept in to the playoffs this year with Kobe playing as phenomenal as he has been. Why would they do any better with a Kobe who’s one year older and recovering from injury? He’s not winning anything next year. He’ll only drag his career averages down, he may not even be the same player after rehab, and then retire maybe even not making the playoffs. I would rather retire posting incredible numbers and willing his team into the first round of the playoffs. No one will blame Kobe if the Lakers lose this year, but he was basically the sole reason his team even made the playoffs. Not a bad note to go out on.

    Of course you have to respect Jordan for everything he accomplished in his career before his Wizards years. That’s why he gets adoration. His standing ovation in Philli was for everything he contributed to the game as a whole. I don’t think being on one of the worst teams in the league helps “maintain” his legacy. Frankly, he was respected because he WAS the greatest, but the man in the Wizard jersey wasn’t even close