Teammates and coaches say Bryant is determined to return quickly from the biggest injury of his career. General manager Mitch Kupchak thinks it’s realistic the 34-year-old guard could be ready for next season’s opener in the fall.
Bryant was hurt late in the Lakers’ 118-116 win over Golden State on Friday night. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said Bryant’s tendon was completely torn. Bryant stayed in the game to make two free throws.
Kupchak says the Lakers haven’t considered parting ways with Bryant, who will make nearly $30.5 million next year.
Bryant took to Facebook in the wee hours of Saturday morning to vent about the injury, writing the “frustration is unbearable” but the setback will not end his career.
Bryant posted about his “rage” a few hours after being hurt: “Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? “
He added: “Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me...Then again maybe not!”
“One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.”
Achilles’ tendon injuries can require many months of rehabilitation and recovery, depending on their severity, and Bryant has enormous mileage on his legs. The NBA’s No. 3 scorer this season has played more than 38 minutes per game, more than any teammate and more than any player in the league over 30.
CELTICS 120, MAGIC 88
In Orlando, Fla., Courtney Lee scored 20 points and Jeff Green added 17 as Boston routed the Magic.
The win locked up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference for Boston, which never trailed in beating Orlando for the eighth consecutive time.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 22 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
BOBCATS 95, BUCKS 85
In Charlotte, N.C., Kemba Walker had 21 points, Josh McRoberts nearly had a triple-double and the Bobcats handed Milwaukee its ninth consecutive road loss.
The Bucks are locked into eighth place in the East, meaning they’ll draw Miami in the first round.