Must Watch: Kobe Bryant Talks With Media About Career Ending-esque Ruptured Achilles (VIDEO)
He'd just passed Wilt Chamberlain as the number 4 career scorer on the all-time list. Dwight seemed happier. Nash was healthy. The Lakers had seemingly turned around an epically disappointing, über-hyped, tumultuous season, and nabbed the 8 spot in the Western Conference. All they needed to do was get into the playoffs and let their hall-of-fame-bound rotation get to work and shock the world. The greatest come from behind season ever was within reach, as the feather in the cap of one of the greatest/most recognized/controversial athletes of all-time. Then Kobe Bryant ruptured his achilles tendon last night. Here's what that means:
- The Lakers have 2 games left (and now zero Kobe Bryants) and are only 1 game ahead of the Utah Jazz in the Playoff standings (against San Antonio and Houston, both at home.)
- Achilles Tendon ruptures tend to take a year to heal
- Kobe has stated that next year may be his last
So, putting 2 and 2 together, we can conclude the following, without a huge leap of faith:
- The Lakers might not make the playoffs
- Kobe Bryant won't become the NBA's all-time leading scorer
- Kobe Bryant won't ever tie Jordan's mark of 6 titles
- Kobe Bryant won't ever play professional basketball again
Now before you go and close this chapter of NBA history, let's optimistically talk about the details of the seemingly dire situation. People have come back from such an injury, and although it doesn't help that Kobe is 34 years old, he tends to be superhuman in the healing department. Factor that in with the latest medical reconstructive technology and Kobe's one-of-a-kind competitive attitude, and things may turn out different. As Lakers.com reporter, Mike Trudell, tweeted today:
Chauncey Billups is the most recent example of coming back from a torn Achilles, but no 2 injuries are the same. And Kobe isn't normal.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 13, 2013
A healthy return is completely possible, despite being a deservedly scary situation for his NBA career. Just ask David Beckham, who at 34 had the same injury and managed to stay in the game. But for Kobe, patient zero should be Hawks great Dominique Wilkins, who tore his achilles at 32, and returned to play 7 more seasons. Although for every Dominique Wilkins, there's an Isiah Thomas (career ended at 32 after the same injury.) Only time will tell, and time, unfortunately, is not something Kobe has a ton of to spare, as sport injuries writer Will Carroll reports:
If it can get worse, the injuries to Bryant's knees will complicate his rehab and return from this Achilles injury. The Lakers will have to be very careful with his rehab to make sure that his repaired leg doesn't cause any gait changes and cascade injuries, which are very common in this type of situation.
That being said, Dan Marino's first game back in 1993, from a ruptured achilles as well, resulted in 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. Later that season, he did this. Let's hope our days of enjoying Kobe highlights aren't behind us.
UPDATE: Laker's trainer Gary Vitti reports Kobe Bryant is expected to miss 6-9 months.
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
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