Kobe Bryant’s Doctor Optimistic About Recovery from Ruptured Achilles

by April 14, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers have placed a 6-9 month timetable on Kobe Bryant’s return to the court — he certainly seems to believes he’ll be back and dominate again. Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the man who performed the surgery on Bryant’s ruptured Achilles’ tendon, expects the future Hall of Famer to make a full recovery. Per the LA Times: “I can point to all of the scientific aspects of the repair, but just as important if not more important is, who is that Achilles attached to?’ said ElAttrache, who performed the hour-long surgery Saturday. ‘In this situation, it’s attached to Kobe Bryant, who has figured out a way to get through some injuries that would ordinarily be career-threatening. Some of the things he’s had go on with him have ended guys’ careers in the NBA. He’s figured out a way to get through it and be one of the best players in the NBA.’ ElAttrache, director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, said Bryant’s Grade 3 rupture was typical of hundreds he has repaired over the last 23 years. […] ElAttrache, who in 2008 repaired the shredded knee of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said elite athletes such as Bryant and Brady have similar reactions to these types of major injuries. ‘Generally speaking, these elite athletes go through an initial period of anger, and usually that’s pretty quick,’ he said. ‘They don’t dwell on that long. Then they get resolved to, what’s my best way to get back? Once that switch flips, they generally speaking do not want to waste any time. At that point, they want it done now. Rarely will you see anybody delay. They’re already into comeback mode. Kobe was very typical for that.’ The first few months of recovery are essential in making sure the tendon stays intact and doesn’t stretch, ElAttrache said, so it’s important that Bryant isn’t too aggressive in his rehabilitation. The rest is conditioning. […] ElAttrache said elite athletes regain their neuromuscular pattern and timing ‘better than the rest of us’ but cautioned: ‘Some things you can’t speed up. The biology of the healing tendon is paramount for the first three months. If you try to exceed that and you hurt that healing tendon and stretch it out, it’s not something that you can reverse.'”