Kobe Bryant is expected to miss about six weeks with an injured
left knee, dealing the second major injury setback of the year to
the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar guard.
An MRI exam on Thursday revealed Bryant has a fracture in his
lateral tibial plateau – the top of his shinbone near his knee.
Bryant made his season debut with the Lakers (12-13) on Dec. 8
after nearly eight months away while recovering from a torn
Achilles tendon. He apparently was hurt again Tuesday in a 96-92
win at Memphis while playing his fourth game in five nights.
After playing six games in 10 days, the fourth-leading scorer in
NBA history is out again until February or longer – and the Lakers’
already miserable run of injuries got even uglier as they prepare
to host Minnesota (13-13) on Friday night.
”You hate it for Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told
reporters after practice Thursday. ”He’s worked so hard to get
back, but he’ll be back. He’ll be back in six weeks. We’ve just got
to weather the storm until he gets back.”
The Lakers also announced Steve Nash will be out for at least
four more weeks with nerve root irritation, leaving injury-riddled
Los Angeles without its top three point guards and Bryant – who
filled in at the point in recent games – for at least another
The Lakers signed point guard Kendall Marshall, a lottery pick
by Phoenix in 2012, out of the D-League on Friday.
On Thursday afternoon, a tweet was posted on Bryant’s official
Twitter account that consisted solely of the hashtag:
”I think he’ll be back in six weeks, and he’ll be hunting for
some bear,” D’Antoni said.
The rest of the Lakers found out about Bryant’s injury after
”It’s hard to get this type of news, especially when we’ve got
already so many injuries, when we’ve been through so many injuries
the year before,” Pau Gasol said. ”It just keeps piling up. It’s
not the best thing for us, for sure, but we’ve just got to continue
to go forward. We understand it can happen.”
D’Antoni immediately faced questions about whether the Lakers
allowed Bryant to return too quickly from the torn Achilles
Bryant pushed himself to return to the Lakers quickly, but his
left leg appeared to be visibly smaller than his right leg after
months of inactivity and atrophy. D’Antoni and the Lakers’ top
brass often joke about their inability to control Bryant’s
relentless determination to play, even at the risk of his own
”It could happen at any time,” D’Antoni said of Bryant’s
latest injury. ”That’s part of it. There’s always going to be a
risk until he gets used to playing, but the doctors are all over
it. That’s just bad luck.”
Bryant matched his season high with 21 points Tuesday, but he
went to the floor with 3:25 left in the third quarter. He stayed
down briefly before standing up, and Bryant bent over at the waist
as he flexed his left leg back and forth. He walked to the bench
with trainer Gary Vitti, but returned to the floor following the
He hit a deep 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help
clinch the win, Los Angeles’ second in six games since his return,
and played more than 32 minutes. Bryant said after the game that he
twisted his knee, but it felt all right.
”I just hyperextended it,” Bryant said when asked to describe
what happened on the play. ”I tend to hyperextend my knees every
now and then.”
Without Bryant on Nov. 10, the Lakers saw their 22-game run
against the Timberwolves come to an end with a 113-90 home loss. It
was the longest active winning streak between two NBA opponents,
and Bryant had played in all but one of those victories.
Kevin Love had 25 points and 13 rebounds in last month’s meeting
and Kevin Martin scored 27 for Minnesota.
Love scored 29 points, grabbed 15 boards and handed out nine
assists Wednesday as the Timberwolves beat Portland 120-109 for
their fourth win in six games.
“Awesome,” Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio said about Love.
”There’s no words to describe. He’s doing a great job leading this
team in scoring, rebounding, even assisting. He’s taking my
Nikola Pekovic had a season-high 30 points and added nine
rebounds, while Martin scored 22.