On the weekend of the Masters, sports talk was dominated by Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant. Tiger, of course, for his efforts (and penalty) on the golf course, while Kobe tried to will the Lakers to the playoffs. Unfortunately, for NBA fans and Laker fans especially, Kobe’s achilles couldn’t bear the weight of the franchise. He went down against the Golden State Warriors with a ruptured achilles tendon. This injury typically requires 6-9 months of rehab.
Can a 34 year old, who has logged 17 NBA seasons, come back from this injury? Probably. Definitely, in the case of Kobe Bryant. He’s one of the most fierce competitors the game has ever seen. I’m sure he’ll attack his rehab with the same passion and energy that he uses to attack defenders. That’s not the question though. The real question is whether or not Kobe can come back to his old form? If so, expect him back to terrorize the league again next year. If not, we may have seen the last of Kobe Bryant as an elite basketball player.
What does that mean for the Lakers? First of all, they are going to try and secure the 8th and final playoff spot without him. Hopes of making a deep run this year have taken a serious hit. Time for Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to step up for this team, but don’t hold your breath in hopes of a playoff series win. Without Kobe, this Lakers team is just not deep enough to knock off the #1 seed (either San Antonio or Oklahoma City). Going forward, the Lakers are going to have to figure out what their offense will look like without relying on #24.