x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

NBA: Kobe Bryant out for nine months after Achilles surgery

The Los Angeles Lakers star faces spending the rest of 2013 sidelined after surgery last night, while Boston clinched a playoff spot after routing Orlando.

Kobe Bryant limps off the court after suffering his season-ending injury against Golden State on Friday.
Kobe Bryant limps off the court after suffering his season-ending injury against Golden State on Friday.

Kobe Bryant faces up to nine months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon last night.

The Los Angeles Lakers star left the court in agony toward the end of Friday's 118-116 win over Golden State and later declared his season over.

Bryant chose to have immediate surgery to repair the damage to his torn left Achilles, undergoing an operation on Saturday.

"The successful surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Stephen Lombardo," a Lakers spokesman said.

"Recovery time is expected to be a minimum of six to nine months."

Gary Vitti, Lakers head trainer, described the torn tendon as a "third degree rupture."

"It is gone. It has to be sewn back together," he said.

Bryant said immediately after the game that he felt a "pop" as he tried to beat Harrison Barnes to the outside with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter of Friday night's tight contest.

"I felt like I got kicked. It is a move I make a million times and pop," Bryant said. "Just a freak situation I guess."

Bryant later vented in the early morning hours Saturday on his Facebook page saying that he isn't sure he can come back from the injury.

"All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times!," Bryant wrote on Facebook.

"The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??"

The future Hall of Famer also pondered whether this might be the end for him as an NBA superstar.

"Maybe this is how my book ends," he wrote. "Maybe Father Time has defeated me ... Then again maybe not."

Bryant had a chance to collect his thoughts and was in a more upbeat mood Saturday afternoon, posting a photo of himself wearing hospital garb and getting ready to go for the surgery.

"Lookin like Mrs Doubtfire with a jerri curl cap lol. Anesthesia next," he wrote.

Vitti meanwhile said the Lakers were confident Bryant would return sometime in the 2013-14 season. "That's the plan," he said. "He's accepted the challenge. For us, the hardest part will be keeping him down."

Bryant's injury couldn't have come at a worse time for the Lakers who are in a close battle for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, with teammate Pau Gasol admitting the side will have to step up their play without him.

"The season has been full of obstacles & difficulties," Gasol wrote on Twitter. "I am sure we will keep fighting till the very end as we have been doing," he added.

Meanwhile Courtney Lee scored 20 points as the Boston Celtics clinched the seventh playoff seed in the Eastern Conference with a 120-88 rout of Orlando Magic.

Lee was one of seven Boston players to reach double-figures in scoring. Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford had 17 and 16 points, respectively.

"I like our team, I like our team a lot," said Doc Rivers, the Boston coach.

"The key for us is to get through these two games, have some great practices and get ready for the playoffs. That's what you play the whole season for."

Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley also scored 14 points apiece for Boston who were coming off a 109-101 loss to Miami on Friday.

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 91-87 to win the season series 3-1, a head-to-head advantage which could prove vital when the NBA play-off fixtures are determined.

The teams are currently seeded fourth and fifth in the Western Conference with two games remaining, and should that remain the case the Clippers - who as Pacific Division winners cannot be seeded lower than fourth - will now have home advantage in the play-off first round.

Both teams, however, are just half a game behind the third-seeded Denver Nuggets.

DeAndre Jordan played a key role with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds, while the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol had 18 points and 15 rebounds.

The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Phoenix Suns 105-93 in the other game in the west.

That left the Milwaukee Bucks to settle for eighth after a 95-85 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, for whom Kemba Walker scored 21 points.

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