Less than 24 hours after the tragic scene at Staples Center on Friday night, reports are coming in confirming the initial diagnosis of a ruptured Achilles tendon for Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant.
The apparent recovery time is six to nine months.
ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi reported the news on Twitter:
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti confirms its a ruptured Achilles tendon and Kobe Bryant will be sidelined 6-9 months.2013-4-13 19:15:52
The Los Angeles Lakers' Twitter account confirmed and added some details of the MRI:
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
Kobe's surgery is set for 1pm today. Head athletic trainer Gary Vitti called it a "3rd rupture. It’s gone. It has to be sewn back together."2013-4-13 19:39:18
CBS Sports' Ken Berger also reported that Bryant is wasting no time in getting to the hospital, choosing to go under the knife on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET:
Ken Berger @KBergNBA
Kobe Bryant's surgery is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT. "It's a third-degree tear. It's gone. Completely torn," said trainer Gary Vitti.2013-4-13 19:18:53
For those concerned that the workload Bryant was carrying over the last few games led to an overuse of his body (45.7 minutes per game over last seven), the team's official Twitter account posted this response by Gary Vitti:
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
Vitti: “Some of its just bad luck. The stuff out there about Kobe… to say he was injured because he played 48 mins is a stretch.”2013-4-13 19:13:06
Bryant, averaging 27.3 points and 6.0 assists in one of the most grind-it-out seasons of his professional career, was two games away of fulfilling his promise and helping L.A. make the Western Conference playoffs after a slow start to the 2012-13 NBA season.
It all came crumbling down on Friday night, though, as he fell to the floor late in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors—immediately grabbing the bottom of his left leg (as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA).
It was truly a harrowing experience for those in attendance and others watching at home, as the resilient Bryant had to be helped off the court by teammates and did not return to the Lakers' 118-116 win.
The Lakers are one game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the final spot in the West with two games left in the regular season.
While there are those who think the Black Mamba will never be the same player again, Kobe has time and again proven that his work ethic is unmatched in the NBA. Look no further than his decision to have surgery less than 24 hours after the injury to cement that he's eager to get recovery, rehab and training back on track.
You never want to see a professional athlete go down, but if there's one player who can climb out of this decidedly horrific turn of events at age 34, it's Kobe Bryant.