Kobe Bryant Feared to Have Torn Achilles, Next Season in Jeopardy

Kobe Bryant may have fought through knee injuries all season, but with only a couple games left, his season and playoffs may be done:


The Lakers believe Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles. He will have an MRI tomorrow to confirm.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 13, 2013  

As Trudell stated, this is about the worst-case scenario possible for the Los Angeles Lakers. If confirmed, the normal time lost to an Achilles rupture is 10 to 12 months, putting the first half of next season in jeopardy. Remember, Bryant recently said he would make a decision about next year being his last in the NBA.

One key point is that while Trudell and many others are using the colloquial term "torn" in regards to the tendon, the correct term here is strain. Any injury to ligaments, muscles or tendons involves some degree of tearing of the fibers that make up the structure. A severe tendon strain or complete tearing is termed a rupture. 

If it can get worse, the injuries to Bryant's knees will complicate his rehab and return from this Achilles injury. The Lakers will have to be very careful with his rehab to make sure that his repaired leg doesn't cause any gait changes and cascade injuries, which are very common in this type of situation. 

Strengthening the muscles of the leg, especially the gastrocnemius (calf), is paramount to the success of the rehab and the return to function. Bryant is already having trouble with this due to the maintenance needed on his knees. 

The record of returns in the NBA is not good. Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus (now at ESPN.com) looked at the data last year and there's not much hope in here. Whether Bryant follows the path of Isiah Thomas or Dominique Wilkins remains to be seen.

If there is any positive, it is that Achilles tendon repairs have seen great leaps (no pun intended) in the last few ye...

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