Kobe Bryant’s Season Most Likely Comes To An End With Achilles Injury

From ESPN:  “Bryant fell to the floor with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter while being guarded by the Warriors’ Harrison Barnes. Bryant had played every minute of the game up to that point, scoring 32 points in the process — including back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game with 3:45 remaining. “I made a move that I make a million times and it just popped,” said Bryant.  Bryant asked Barnes if he had kicked him in the leg. When Barnes said he hadn’t, Bryant said he knew that a major injury had occurred.”

First things first, this is a tough, tough blow for the Lakers.  They had battled through injuries all season just to get everyone healthy and ready for what looked like another playoff run.  Now, they’ll have to play a completely different game, something that D’Antoni can probably put together, with a bunch of 30 something guys who have all taken turns on the disabled list this year.  Good Luck.

Now, couple of random thoughts on the reactions I’ve heard so far.

I.  I actually feel bad for Kobe and I’ve disliked the guy for most of his career.  There’s no doubting he’s one of the best to ever do it, but I was a fan of Shaq and hated Kobe when they were feuding.  Did I love this video?  HELL YES!

But I feel for the guy.  He’s been on his grind all season.  We all thought the Lakers were stacked heading into the season with Nash and Howard joining and already talented team.  Instead injuries and Howard acting like a 2 year old left the season on a 34 year old Kobe’s shoulders.  So he did what any great player would do, throw the team on those shoulders and put together another MVP caliber season.  He won’t win the MVP but the guy has been unbelievable for the Lakers this season.  Sucks that he’ll be watching from the sidelines during the playoffs.

II.  To all the talking heads and people out there trying to blame D’Antoni for the injury saying that Bryant should have gotten a break during the game, you must be crazy.  Do you think D’Antoni has the ability, with the teams season on the line, to take Kobe out of a game?  Didn’t matter that he had already been beat up during the game, Kobe was going to finish it.  Guy was hot too.  Back to back 3’s and a little momentum, Kobe was in prime position to finish off the Warriors.  Not to mention, Kobe is wired differently than 90 percent of us.  Guy runs on a different level.  I’m sure he told D’Antoni before the game, “unless I call for it, don’t take me out.”  He understands the importance of the Lakers making the playoffs and honestly the guy has an unhealthy obsession with winning.  Can’t blame D’Antoni for letting him go the whole game.

III. Achilles injuries suck hard.  I suffered an Achilles injury about five years ago running down a fly ball in a beer league softball game.  Felt like a huge hornet/bee/wasp came up from behind and stung me right on the Achilles.  Immediately went down and pretty much couldn’t walk for about three weeks.  Probably should have seen a doctor, but that’s neither her nor there.  The thing that sucks about it as an athlete, and I use the term loosely for me, is that it completely demoralizes you.  You can’t move and it heals so slowly.  I literally had to crawl up the stairs in my apartment.

IV.  Can the Lakers succeed if they make the NBA Playoffs?  See, I think they can.  D’Antoni has one real strength: coaching up an offense.  His teams in Phoenix could always score.  This Lakers team has all the pieces he needs: Nash running the point, 2 bigs perfect for the pick and roll (Gasol and Howard) and guys on the wings who can shoot the three (Metta, Earl Clark and Jamison.)  Pretty sure we are going to see the Lakers become the Suns of the mid-2000’s.  It’ll be interesting if they face the Spurs or Thunder, to see how competitive they can be.

V.  Will Kobe return?  Yup, and if you don’t think so, you’re crazy.  Unless they have to cut off his leg, the guy is coming back.  He may not be as explosive but the guy will still be a 6’6″ wingman who can score 20 a night and play some defense.  He’ll probably post up like MJ did late in his career on the block and kill you with fade-a-ways.  Guy could probably go 2 or 3 more years, but honestly it’s up to him.  My guess is that he comes back next year (I believe the last year on his contract) and then sees where the team is headed before deciding his future.

Overall, a really tough break for Kobe and the Lakers.  Shit happens, but you hate to see it happen at this point in the season.