NBA: Kobe Bryant’s season-ending injury is no fault of anyone but Father Time

In a mad rush to make the NBA playoffs, Kobe Bryant played too many minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers, which may be the reason for his season-ending injury, writes Steve Dillbeck.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant grimaces after being injured during the second half of the Lakers' game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant grimaces after being injured during the second half of the Lakers' game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

Something big goes wrong, someone must be to blame. It is human nature.

So it goes with Kobe Bryant, the face of the Los Angeles Lakers, who was carrying his team to the play-offs until his left Achilles tendon snapped on Friday.

He had surgery the next day and is expected to be out six to nine months, if he comes back, and whether he will come back as an elite player, after surgery, when he will be 35.

Determined that his disappointing Lakers team capture the final play-off spot, Bryant had taken to playing every minute of nearly every game. In his previous six games, he had played all but 14 minutes of a possible 288.

So when the Achilles snapped and ended the Lakers' razor-thin title hopes blame was sprayed in all directions.

Bryant was done in by his ego.

Mike D'Antoni, the coach, did not have the courage to sit him.

Gary Vitti, the trainer, should have spoken up. Mitch Kupchak, the general manager, kowtowed to Bryant's will.

Kupchak said he was concerned about the minutes Bryant was playing and spoke to him about it.

"His message to me was, 'Mitch, I hear what you're saying, but we've got to get in the play-offs. I'm playing, and there's nothing you can do about it'."

So he played, did his warrior thing and the tendon snapped. It happens. It is more likely to happen to someone in his 17th season. Tendons give in to age and wear. No one to blame, really, no matter how hard we look.

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Published: April 15, 2013 04:00 AM

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