The surgeon who repaired Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles wasn’t exaggerating when he said that elite athletes quickly go into “comeback mode” after suffering a serious injury.
Less than 24 hours after he had surgery, Bryant was sharing a Los Angeles Times headline (“Injury clouds the future for Bryant, Lakers; Superstar guard has surgery for ruptured Achilles’ tendon, and his career may never be the same.”) with his response on Twitter and Facebook:
“This is what my friend/agent sends me this am. Shiesh! #kobe #motivationsunday I’m keeping track of all doubters and haters #mambamentality”
Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the hour-long surgery Saturday afternoon after Bryant was injured Friday night. He told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that Bryant’s ferociously competitive nature will give him an advantage in a recovery that is expected to take 6-9 months.
“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?” ElAttrache said. “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.”
Bryant had a completely torn Achilles, a rupture that ElAttrache was typical of others he has repaired over the years. He also thought that Bryant’s reaction, including his dark-of-the-night Facebook meditation on athletic mortality early Saturday morning was fairly typical. Bryant sped through anger, denial, acceptance, bargaining, depression and acceptance in record time.
“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.”