Superstar Kobe Bryant’s season-ending injury puts Lakers in a bind

Superstar Kobe Bryant's season-ending injury puts Lakers in a bind

Mark Awad

Guard Kobe bryant hobbles off the court in the second half of the lakers matcup with the Warriors. Courtesy of MCT
Guard Kobe bryant hobbles off the court in the second half of the lakers matcup with the Warriors. Courtesy of MCT

By Mark Awad

Los Angeles stood still at the end of the fourth quarter with three minutes left as superstar Kobe Bryant went down. Everyone figured hey it’s Kobe he’ll be back. The news broke post-game: Bryant probably tore his achilles heel. As Bryant stood up with crutches and a teary eye he said “I can’t, I can’t walk.” Kobe’s injury sucked the oxygen out of Lakers fans and their playoff hopes, very similar to when Magic Johnson announced his retirement due to HIV in 1991.

The 34-year-old Bryant has averaged 45 minutes in April, which is staggering for a player his age. Most critics will point the finger at coach Mike D‘ Antoni saying he ran Kobe to the ground while others would say the Lakers had no option but to play him this much in order to make a playoff push.

The Lakers season has not been impressive and they are currently fighting to hang on to the 8th seed in the West. Los Angeles currently has a one game lead over the Utah Jazz with two tough games remaining against the Spurs and the Rockets. The Lakers are still extremely talented without Bryant but they will have to make major adjustments and utilize their bigs in a slow-tempo offense to stand any sort of chance.

The Lakers have two all star giants down low in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.  Steve Nash could be back as soon as the next game against the Spurs, which will allow them to run more half court sets and pick and rolls. Nash needs to be more of a scoring point guard while orchestrating this offense while Dwight Howard needs to step up and anchor the team’s defense the same as when he was on Orlando.

Gasol, who recorded a triple double when Kobe got hurt against the Warriors, has been scoring, passing and rebounding impressively the last three games and needs to carry this play into the playoffs. Hopefully, this injury sparks Los Angeles to the playoffs.

As we witnessed earlier this year, injuries can have an emotional and inspirational force on a team. Louisville saw star guard Kevin Ware go down with a gruesome injury, but the team rallied and ultimately won the NCAA championship

 As for Kobe, he’ll be with his team coaching, teaching and doing anything he can to help this team off the court. The odds of him returning to the game ever again are against him as an achilles tear takes roughly 6 to 9 months to fully heal.

Bryant is currently 34 years of age and has played 17 NBA seasons, his body has been through a lot of wear and tear throughout the years. If that was truly the last time we saw Bryant take the court, he left us with an amazing 17 seasons of basketball, five NBA championships, an unbelievable 81 point game, countless buzzer beaters, highlight plays and dunks. Kobe will arguably go down as the fiercest, most dominant shooting guard to ever play this game, with all due respect given to Michael Jordan.

Then again, something tells me he’ll be back and ready to go for the next season.