This is a punch to the gut. For the Lakers. And For Kobe Bryant.
Kobe will be out six weeks with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Lakers announced. That is the basically the flat part of the top of the shin where it connects to the bottom of the knee. It apparently does not need surgery.
Kobe had been back just six games following Achilles surgery on his left leg earlier this year.
This would mean a return likely around early February, maybe a little later (Kobe needs to give the bone time to heal then get his conditioning back up to get on the court).
The injury occurred against the Memphis Grizzlies, likely on a play where there was contact with Tony Allen. During the game Kobe was grabbing his knee and clearly in pain after the play but stayed in the game.
D’Antoni: “You hate it for Kobe. He’s worked so hard to get back.” @XavierHenry will take over PG duties for the short-handed Lakers.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 19, 2013
This is the same leg where he had his Achilles surgery. As so often happens in sports, especially with older athletes, an injury in one area leads to compensation and eventually issues in another area.
In the short term this leaves the Lakers without a real point guard — Kobe joins Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar all out with injuries. Farmar is the closest to return, he will be re-evaluated Dec. 24 and could potentially return Christmas Day against the Heat.
Long-term, the Lakers have to consider if they want to shed some salaries — hello Pau Gasol — and essentially look at the lottery for this season. Without Kobe for another 20 plus games the Lakers are going to slip out of playoff contention in the West.
-- Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk