An MRI conducted on Kobe Bryant's left foot Saturday confirmed the fully torn left Achilles tendon that the Los Angeles Lakers had feared. The Lakers star tweeted a photo of himself in surgery prep as the team moves quickly in hope of an accelerated recovery.
After undergoing surgery Saturday, Bryant will miss the remainder of the season and the current estimated timetable for his return is six to nine months, according to Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.
The Lakers said after Friday night's 118-116 win against the Golden State Warriors that it was "probable" Bryant had torn his Achilles completely. Bryant left the game with just more than three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Having played the entire game up to that point and after suffering a hyperextended knee earlier in the second half, a drive atop the key against Warriors defender Harrison Barnes ended with Bryant collapsing, without much contact.
The Lakers guard said he felt a "pop" and he even thought that he had been kicked by Barnes. Bryant hit two free throws after a foul was called, then hobbled off the court.
After the game he addressed the media, eyes red and full of disappointment. He followed with a Facebook post that first vented in frustration but then ended with a promise that his basketball journey isn't over.
Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni will now face some scrutiny over how they handled the guard's minutes. Not only is the 34-year-old known as an incessant worker off the court, but he recently had been playing full games. He had played more than 40 minutes in each of his last seven games, and in all but two of them he'd gone without a single break until the closing minute.