Bryant set for MRI on Saturday to confirm injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ 118-116 win over the Golden State Warriors was overshadowed on Saturday night at the Staples Center, with Kobe Bryant suffering a serious injury.
Bryant fell to the floor with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, following a 32-point game in a match-up that the Lakers had to win in order to maintain their play-off hopes.
However, standing on crutches in front of his locker with tears in his eyes after the game, Bryant told reporters:
“Just terrible. It’s feeling terrible man. I made a move that I make a million times and it just popped,” he said as reported by ESPN.
He also revealed that he asked Harrison Barnes, who was marking him at the time, whether or not he had just kicked him. When Barnes replied to say that he hadn’t, Bryant immediately knew that he had suffered a major injury to his Achilles tendon.
“I was just hoping it wasn’t what I knew it was. Just trying to walk it off, hoping that the sensation would come back, but no such luck.”
Following a time-out, Bryant displayed all that Mamba spirit to return to the game to make both free-throws with his torn Achilles, before being subbed off for Metta World Peace and returning to the locker room for the rest of the night.
Aside from being a huge blow for the Lakers, it is a huge disappointment for Bryant, who will now undoubtedly face questions about his future and whether or not he will return as the same player so late in his career.
The 34-year-old has played a great deal this season, surpassing 30,000 career points, making his 15th All-Star weekend to add to his burgeoning collection of five championships including two Finals MVP awards and a regular season MVP.
However, he remained optimistic on Friday night: “It’s fueling me, it’s fueling me. I can feel it already. It’s just, players at this stage of their career, they pop Achilles and the pundits say they never come back the same. So I can hear it already and it’s p****** me off right now thinking about it,” he added.
The Lakers will now await for confirmation on Saturday following the MRI scan, but it is clear from Bryant’s reaction that he will play no further part this season.
Messages of support and wishes of a speedy recovery have flooded in all around the NBA and from fans on Twitter, as all concerned hope to see the ‘Black Mamba’ back out on the court at the start of next season.