Kobe Bryant injured his left Achilles heel last night in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 118-116 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Kobe is having surgery this afternoon on the torn Achilles and it is expected to take him 6-9 months to fully recover from the injury, according to the Lakers’ trainer.
This is very devastating news for Lakers fans not just for this year but for the next. The Lakers are currently sitting in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Utah Jazz with both teams having two games remaining.
Kobe was needed to play 45-plus minutes per night the past few weeks as the Lakers were doing everything they could to hang on to that eight-seed. It’s hard to say now if they will be able to make the playoffs without Kobe.
If they do, then it is most likely the Oklahoma City Thunder that will be there waiting for them as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
The Thunder are 59-21 on the year right now, a half game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the standings. The Thunder will play at home in their final two games of the season vs. the Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks next week.
It was only a few days ago that the Thunder were coming off a disappointing loss to the New York Knicks and the thought of them having to possibly deal with the Lakers in the first round seemed kind of scary.
Now with Mamba out, the Lakers are not scary at all. Even with a healthy Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol the Lakers will be no match for the Thunder and probably will get swept by them.
You never want to see a player get hurt like Kobe did but it will almost definitely be good news for the Thunder. OKC probably would have beaten the Lakers with ease in the first round even with Kobe in there, but now their advancement is just about guaranteed.