Kobe Bryant's surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon was successful, however the Los Angeles Lakers star will be sidelined for at least six to nine months as he recuperates, the team and doctors said today.
Bryant, 34, tore his left Achilles' tendon in the closing minutes of Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors.
The All-Star shooting guard, who has carried the Lakers all season, hobbled to the free throw line after the injury to take his two free throws for being fouled. He hit them both, tying the game 108-108, before going to the locker room. The Lakers went on to win the game.
Bryant, who was averaging 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists,was operated on by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Stephen Lombardo of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Group.
Bryant, the NBA's fourth all-time leading scorer, has dealt with injuries in the past, but never one as serious and potentially career-ending as this one.
"You need your Achilles' tendon, muscle, tendon here, to allow you to walk," said Dr. Robert Klapper, chief of orthopedic surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group.
With the athlete's discipline and determination, though, Klapper said, it's possible he could make a comeback.
Bryant took to Facebook on Saturday to vent his frustration at the injury that ended his season.
"All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen?!? Makes no damn sense," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Nevertheless, the basketball star vowed to return to the court.
"One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence," he wrote. "Today is NOT that day."