Kobe Bryant will miss the next 6 weeks worth of the L.A. Lakers season with a fracture in his left knee, the team announced Thursday.
Bryant, who already missed the first 19 games while recovering from an Achilles tendon tear, hyperextended his knee during Tuesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Kobe’s subsequent MRI and examination by team medical personnel determined that he suffered a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, for Kobe Bryant and Lakers fans everywhere.
“It’s too bad,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said at the team’s practice Thursday, via ESPN. “You hate it for Kobe. He worked so hard to get back. But he’ll be back. He’ll be back in six weeks, and we’ll deal with it and weather the storm until he gets back.”
Kobe Bryant had appeared in just six games before going back on the shelf once again. With his 32 minutes in Monday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Kobe has spent the fifth-most time on NBA court—combined regular season and playoffs minutes—in league history. Bryant’s 54,175 minutes is behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Jason Kidd, and Wilt Chamberlain; Kobe overtook John Stockton for the No. 5 spot.
The news of shooting guard Kobe Bryant’s latest injury comes in the wake of the Lakers losing point guard Steve Nash to general back soreness. Nash is expected to miss at least another four weeks for the already struggling Lakers team; with Tuesday night’s win over Memphis, the Lakers climbed to within a game of.500 at 12-13, good for nine games back, putting them three spots out of contention.
Kobe Bryant’s slow return was defended by NBA living logo Jerry West, who said, prior to the knee injury, that Bryant just needed more time.
“I think it’s going to be a little while until he gets his legs under him and be able to find out what he can do,” the Lakers’ former general manager told TMZ.
How devastating is the news of Kobe Bryant’s latest injury? Do the Lakers have a chance without Kobe and the other injured players? Is it time for Kobe Bryant to hang it up and retire?