Kobe Bryant has a “complete rupture” of his Achilles tendon and will undergo surgery to repair it this afternoon, Los Angeles Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said.
“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,” Vitti said (via ESPN) after the Lakers practiced today. “We had a player come in with a surgery, which was Dwight Howard. Then we had Steve Nash break his leg. 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.”
Bryant, who was hurt late in the Lakers’ victory over Golden State, is expected to be immobilized a month or so with his recovery taking 6-9 months. That would mean he’d be ready for next season — so much for the retirement talk. Bryant said the initial injury felt as if he’d been kicked in the back of his left leg, typical for an Achilles injury. He tried to walk on it, even making two free throws after being hurt. But the tear is complete and, as Vitti said, “there are no good Achilles ruptures.”
“It’s gone,” Vitti said, “so, it has to be sewn back together.”
Bryant was hurt making a move “that I make a million times,” he said, “and it just popped.”
Despite his 3:30 a.m. Facebook meditation on athletic mortality — in which he seemed to speed through the four stages of grief — Bryant said after the game that the injury would end his career was motivating him already.
“It’s fueling me. It’s fueling me,” said Bryant, playing his 17th NBA season at 35. “I can feel it already. I can feel it already. Players at this stage they pop an Achilles, and the pundits say they never come back the same. So I can hear it already, and it’s [ticking] me off right now just thinking about it.”
Bryant was scheduled to have surgery at 4 p.m. EDT and was firing off “#vicodintweets” all the way in his “Mrs. Doubtfire” look: