Kobe Bryant Injury: Did Major Minutes Contribute to Possible Torn Achilles?

Kobe Bryant doesn't need his scheduled MRI on Saturday to confirm his torn Achilles.

He knew from the moment he planted, back initially turned toward Harrison Barnes, sweeping through to take the rookie forward to the hole as he had so many others in the past. Collapsing to the Staples Center floor, clutching his left leg with the same grimace Los Angeles Lakers fans have come to know and love over the past decade-and-a-half, Bryant knew his season (and possibly more) was finished. 

Kobe would get up—because he had to. Bryant walked to the line, coolly knocked down two free throws and brought the Lakers to a 109-109 tie. There were a little over three minutes left in the game, one that the Lakers desperately needed to keep their playoff hopes alive. 

Under any other circumstance, Bryant wouldn't have thought twice about staying in the game. This time, though, Bryant knew he had done damage to his Achilles—and not the kind he could just gut his way through.

Speaking after the game, Bryant was obviously emotional and said he heard the Achilles pop, per the Lakers' Twitter feed: 

There will be no superhuman recovery this time around. 

"I can't walk," Bryant said (per the Lakers' Twitter feed). "I can't walk."

He had a lot more to say in an interview following the game on NBA TV:

The Lakers won on Friday, finishing off a cause to which Bryant had poured in 34 hard-earned points. The victory keeps the Lakers one game ahead of the Utah Jazz, a triumph that would have come with unrepentant joy had the aftermath not been so crippling. 

Assuming Saturday's MRI confirms what everyone believes, Friday may have been the most hollow win in Lakers franchise history.

Kobe, the Lakers, everyone would give that win away like an unwanted birthday gift if they could just erase Bryant's Achilles with a neuralyzer...

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