(Mark J. Terrill / AP) (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

Kobe Bryant spoke quietly, his voice a little deeper than usual and his eyes a little teary, Friday night after suffering what is likely to be a season-ending and perhaps career-threatening injury.

“Just terrible,” he told reporters. “It’s a terrible feeling, man.”

In his 17th NBA season, Bryant had been willing the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff push, accumulating monster minutes and refusing to come out of games at the age of 34. Only two nights ago, he went the full 48, scoring 47 points. But, with just over 3 minutes left in the Lakers’ victory over the Golden State Warriors, he went went down with what he said is a torn left Achilles. After he left the arena on crutches, he detailed just how desperate the situation is for him on Facebook — and seemed to work his way through to acceptance:

This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that
was. Maybe this is how my book
ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me…Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake. Forgive my Venting but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.
“If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear”. Ive always loved that quote. Thats “mamba mentality” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.
I know it’s a long post but I’m Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge.
Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.
Mamba Out

Bryant knows all too well that Achilles injuries were too much for Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley to overcome, although it was a different matter for Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens, who played five months after tearing his last May. From SI.com’s Lee Jenkins:

However long he’s gone, he will leave a chasm in the sports landscape, and not just because he approaches every game like he’s trying to make varsity. He spoke publicly less than an hour after the injury, still in uniform, leaning on crutches. Players in similar situations are whisked away and don’t utter a word for weeks. Bryant refuses to hide. Every sentence becomes a sound bite, every opinion a topic of debate. It’s hard to imagine what everyone will talk about for a year.

The Lakers are now [Dwight] Howard’s team, assuming he re-signs in the summer, and he will get all the touches he craves. Meanwhile, Bryant said he would undergo an MRI to confirm the injury, followed by surgery, followed by recovery. No one will be more dedicated to rehab. He will fix his Achilles the same way he tore it, by hammering away, until the [Lakers’] rock is whole again.

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