Kobe’s Surgeon: He’ll Be Back Playing Basketball Next Year

  • Jake O'Donnell

As soon as a key player goes down, everyone becomes Doogie Howser M.D. Throwing around terms like “grade 3 tear” and “ruptured achilles” as opposed to “torn achilles”, speculating when and how the injury will heal — you might as well wear a stethoscope and start driving a Porsche. Even actual doctors act as if they know what a particular injury means, despite having as much familiarity with it as the rest of us. Finally, a real doctor with actual insight who’s seen the damage — and repaired it.

FACT: Dr. Neal ElAttrache feels good about the prospects for Kobe’s eventual recovery and return to action.

“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? 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.”

Dr. Neal (who also performed Zach Grienke’s collar bone surgery this week) goes on to point out that achilles injuries are all about the rehab process. He says that, as a result of not being able to put pressure on the affected foot, people tend to develop a limp that can complicate a full recovery. In doing so, undue pressure can be put on other ligaments, such as Kobe’s ailing knees, causing a domino effect.

But Dr. ElAttrache assures us that, although the healing process is uniquely difficult, athletes like Kobe (and similarly, Tom Brady, who’s knee he also operated on) get their game face on post op, and put 110% into following a strict rehab regimen.

“[Athletes like Kobe Bryant] 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.”

Meanwhile, Kobe live Tweeted his operation.

[Photos Via Facebook], Story Via The LA Times