Kobe Bryant has been ruled out for between 6-9 months after suffering a torn achilles in the Lakers’ close-fought win against Golden State on Wednesday.
The Lakers have the advantage in the battle for the final play-off spot with Utah Jazz a game behind in 9th spot. However, Bryant has been the driving force in his side’s charge for the post-season whilst playing 40+ minues in his last seven games which could have contributed to the injury.
Bryant said about his injury: “It was a move I make a million times and it just popped,”
“I can’t walk! I just have to look about coming back quicker and healthier and start from there.”
The 5x time NBA champion has been inspired form, helping the Lakers to five wins in their last six with some incredible performances including a triple-double against Dallas and a 47 point haul on the road in Portland. ‘Kobe‘ averages 27.6 points per game this season having scored 30+ points in a game on an impressive 35 occasions whilst reaching the 40 point mark eight times.
Head-coach Mike D’Antoni must find a way to ensure his team complete the job of making the play-offs. Winning their last two games against San Antonio and Houston will be enough to finish the season as the 8th seed while Utah will still fancy their chances of making the play-offs as they hold the tie-breaker over the Lakers.
Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have strenghtened their partnership in recent weeks and will hope this will continue as the team looks to cope with the loss of Bryant. The Lakers were beaten 4-1 by Oklahoma in the second round of the play-offs last season and a repeat clash is on the cards with the Thunder currently leading the Western standings.
LAKERS: v San Antonio tonight; v Houston Wednesday (LIVE on ESPNUK)
UTAH: @ Minnesota tomorrow; @ Memphis Wednesday (LIVE on ESPNUK)