Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the next six weeks with a knee injury, the team announced on Thursday afternoon:
Injury Update: Kobe Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. He is expected to miss 6 weeks.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 19, 2013
The news came out of left field, as it seemed like Bryant was starting to find his form after returning from his torn Achilles on Dec. 8. On Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, he finished with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal in 33 minutes, and now we know he incredibly stayed on the floor in the fourth quarter after hyperextending his knee in the third, via ESPN's Ramona Shelburne:
Kobe hyperextended the knee in third quarter, meaning he played 4th quarter with fracture in knee— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 19, 2013
This is obviously devastating news for Bryant and the 12-13 Lakers, who are already dealing with injuries to Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash in the backcourt. Los Angeles head coach Mike D'Antoni expressed his sympathy for Bryant, who was being forced to start at point guard before he got hurt again:
D’Antoni: "You hate it for Kobe. He’s worked so hard to get back." @XavierHenry will take over PG duties for the short-handed Lakers.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 19, 2013
Bryant is averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in six games this season.