Kobe Bryant Out 6-9 Months With Torn Left Achilles

by April 13, 2013

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.'”