10 Thoughts On Kobe Bryant’s Possible Career-Ending Injury

Kobe Bryant season ending injury
Kobe Bryant season ending injury
Apr 12 2013 Los Angeles CA USA Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant 24 reacts against the Golden State Warriors during the game at Staples Center Richard Mackson USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest to ever suit up has succumbed to the greatest injury of his 17-year career. While driving to the hoop against Harrison Barnes, Kobe Bean-The Black Mamba-Vino Bryant stepped awkwardly, having ruptured his Achilles tendon. The win against Golden State, an important victory in their heated quest to make the NBA 2013 Playoffs, sat on the collective hearts of Lakerland as more of a loss. The loss of their most important player.

As one would expect, the interwebs have been buzzing more than a beehive as talking heads and keyboard experts are wondering what comes next for No. 24. Since the Lakers have gone the way of Bryant lately, it has also seems fitting to posit what the team will do without him. Can they make the playoffs? What will Kobe’s recovery look like? Will Dwight Howard ever smile again?

Below are 10 thoughts on the matter, and whether or not Kobe will be back to shooting 4th-quarter daggers come Thanksgiving.

1. Kobe Isn’t Dead

Yes, it’s unfortunate that after a storied career, and during a time of lofty expectations, Bryant went down with a potentially career-ending injury, but the man isn’t dead. Reading up on the situation, I came upon sorrowful sonnets written to him as if he were six feet underground and not six months from a possible return. As Kobe himself put it, “After [all] the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn Achilles.”

2. Third Time Was Not The Charm

Rick Fox, former NBA player and teammate of Bryant, was in the building when the Achilles pop heard across the league downed Kobe. As he recounted, himself and fans were already discussing the need to bench Vino after suffering two injuries earlier in the same game. Most Achilles injuries happen to players after the age of 30, and usually as a result of duress to other parts of the body. As a 34-year-old with a lot of miles on his wagon, and with chronic knee problems, Kobe seemingly did not listen to his body. Never suffering an injury of this seriousness in over 17 years, might have tampered with Bryant’s willingness to listen to his own body.

3. Injury-Plagued Year

Perspective does a funny thing. Every year it seems that more and more players are added to the heap of disabled bodies. This one has been no different, as almost all teams are dealing with major holes in their rosters. Other than Kobe, Louis Williams, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, Enes Kanter, Rajon Rondo, and Anderson Varejao are other top names sidelined until next season. I blame a quickened game, uber-reliance on heavily-muscled bodies, and, yes, PEDs for some of the more odd, non-contact injuries (and machine-like recovery times).

4. D’Antoni Isn’t To Blame

It doesn’t help Mike’s case that many Lakers fans already want him hanging from the rafters next to Shaq’s retired jersey. Now he’s getting the sharp end of the stick for not resting Kobe, though, with Bryant’s fierce competitiveness, and a closing playoff window, it seems D’Antoni had few other options.

5. Injury Exposed Lakers’ Deficiencies

There’s no question that Kobe has helped the Lakers win more than a few games this season. And, to argue that he isn’t having a miraculous season, calls into question your need for a seeing-eye dog. But Kobe’s only real weakness has often been what makes him so damn good, and that’s his competitive nature. At many points throughout this career, and almost all of this year, it seems that he’s had an aversion to trusting his teammates, even when he has two bigs posting 26-11-10 and 28-7. As the team proved in an overachieving and to-the-wire win against the Warriors, this squad can play when healthy.

6. Lakers Will Still NOT Make The Playoffs

With unlimited Mamba venom at his disposal, it was harder to side against a Kobe-led Lakers team, but I still didn’t think they would succeed in extending their season. Now that he’s gone, I’m more skeptical of L.A. pulling it off. Fans of high jinks will lament anyone not wanting L.A. in the postseason, but the Utah Jazz will clinch that last spot.

7. Rebuilding Phase

No, the Lakers won’t amnesty Bryant, but I still see the organization undergoing a major makeover in light of the injury. D12 ends up in Atlanta or Houston, Pau gets traded, and at least one of the Steves retire. D’Antoni ends up in Cleveland?

8. Career-Ending Injury?

Kobe is athletic enough, determined enough, and even at 34, young enough to return. He might still retire, as he recently stated, at the end of next season, but I don’t think this will be Kobe’s end. He still has too much to play for.

9. Kobe’s Recovery Time

People point to his usually unbelievable recovery times as an indicator of this one’s time frame, but I think seven to nine months will be what Kobe ends up dealing with. His nagging knee issues, age, and career mileage will delay his recovery enough to land him back courtside halfway through next season.

10. Will He Catch Michael And/Or Get Number 6?

Michael, yes. Number 6? Highly doubtful.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles