Few have shown toughness like Kobe Bryant has shown toughness.
The guy has played through broken fingers, sprained ankles, damaged ligaments, and he just recently returned from a torn Achilles after just eight months off. Bryant had played six games this season, when the unfortunate happened. The Lakers announced today that Kobe will miss six weeks with a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee.
This is obviously a huge blow to Bryant and the Lakers, but it also begs questions of his return altogether, and some question if this is the beginning of the end. He injured his knee on a play against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, and he played for the rest of the game–in fact he hit some key buckets to win the game.
When it comes to those who question him, he has some fiery words to fight back with, via Yahoo Sports:
“Only an idiot would,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports.
The defiance promises to buoy Bryant one more time, the belief he had started to find his way back from the Achilles as a player again. The explosion wasn’t back – and maybe never will be – but his ability to operate with and without the ball, his ability to make shots, big shots, too, had slowly, surely started to return. As one NBA coach who has scouted Bryant heavily in his comeback said, “He still had a long ways to go.”
Honestly, the suggestion of his demise is a little overblown. Derrick Rose is ten years younger, and coming off of a torn acl, he tore his meniscus, and is out for the entire season. If Bryant’s only injury coming off of the Achilles tear causes him to miss six weeks, then that should be considered a blessing. He was always at a risk of injuring something on the same leg, so this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, it’s just a huge disappointment.
Doubting Bryant has always been foolish, and there is no doubt that he will return this season. I haven’t bet against Kobe yet, and those who do are brave.