Will Kobe Bryant Be Forced to Redefine Game Post-Achilles Injury?

Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon late in the 2012-13 season, and the injury makes one wonder if he will be forced to redefine his game when he hits the hardwood in 2013-14.

The early prognosis had Bryant missing somewhere between six and nine months; however, it would appear as though the 17-year veteran is shattering that timetable and may be ready to rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers by the start of training camp.

That is, undoubtedly, great news for Lakers fans, given that the same injury ended Isiah Thomas’ career. To be fair, though, Bryant’s sentiments and competitive nature always revolved around the idea he would come back playing at a high level.

That may sound ludicrous at first glance, but there is precedent here.

Former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins tore his Achilles tendon in January 1992 and rebounded the following season by averaging 29.9 points per game. Count him among those who firmly believe Bryant will be back at the peak of his powers:

"Oh, I'm not going to (doubt him)," Wilkins said. "I don't doubt him at all. Not at all. He's too much of a competitor. He's one of the most competitive guys to play this game."

Thus, Bryant is probably aiming for a recovery in the mold of Wilkins. Just remember, his return was the opposite side of the spectrum in comparison to Isiah Thomas. Although it is not impossible, it seems unlikely, given that Wilkins’ story is the only such tale in the game’s modern history.

The players who appear to be the norm, so far, are Elton Brand, Chauncey Billups and Mehmet Okur.

Okur ruptured his tendon in December 2010, played 17 games in 2011-12 and then retired. He was 31 years of age at the time he injured himself.

A 35-year-old Billups injured his Achilles in February 2012 and rejoined the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2012-13 season. He only appeared in 22 game...

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