The Los Angeles Lakers worst fears (and the seemingly inevitable) were confirmed on Saturday when an MRI revealed star guard Kobe Bryant had fully ruptured his Achilles tendon and will miss not only the rest of the Lakers regular season but the entire postseason as well. ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that Bryant will undergo surgery Saturday afternoon in order to begin the healing process as soon as possible.
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti confirms its a ruptured Achilles tendon and Kobe Bryant will be sidelined 6-9 months.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 13, 2013
Much debate has already brewed as to whether or not Bryant should have been playing in Friday night’s game, but the consensus has shifted to the understanding that there was no way Kobe Bryant was going to miss any part of a tight game that had serious playoff ramifications for his Lakers. But while this is the most devastating injury the Lakers have suffered this season, it’s not the first and only injury to call into question their ability to dominate in the postseason.
“We had a player come in with a surgery, which was Dwight Howard. Then we had Steve Nash break his leg,” Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, via ESPN LA. “Then we had Steve Blake have an abdominal surgery. Then we had Jordan Hill with a hip surgery. Then we had Metta (World Peace)with a knee surgery. We also had Dwight with a (torn) labrum in his shoulder. Antawn Jamison will have surgery after the season is over on his
wrist. So, when you try to look at the whys, it’s bad luck.”
The next question — and the one no one really wants to ask– is whether or not the Achilles injury is a career-ender for Bryant. There were initial fears that Bryant could miss the entire 2013-14 season, and even with a 6-9 month timetable for recovery, Bryant isn’t due to realistically come back until January 2014, and that’s if he sticks to the timetable being set now.
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose tore his ACL last April and still has yet to return to the Bulls lineup. Bryant vented on his Facebook page about the injury, and it’s still unclear whether this is the end or not. It’s looking like the Achilles injury is only lighting a bizarre youthful fire under Kobe, but 6-9 months is a long ways away.
For now, Los Angeles is a somber place. There’s still glitz and still glam, the Clippers are still riding high and the city will live. But at this moment, it’s as if Hollywood royalty died, and that’s understating things. This is an injury that extends beyond Los Angeles and touches everyone who’s ever watched basketball with incredible sadness.