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Bryant facing nine months on the sidelines

ESPN staff
April 14, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Kobe Bryant had to be helped off court following his injury against the Golden State Warriors © Getty Images
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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is likely to be out between six and nine months following surgery on the ruptured Achilles tendon that he suffered during the 118-116 victory over Golden State Warriors.

Bryant went down with three minutes left in the fourth-quarter when trying to round Warriors' forward Harrison Barnes, and had to be helped off the court.

Lakers trainer Gary Vitti confirmed that the 34-year-old had suffered a "complete rupture" of the Achilles tendon.

"It has gone," Vitti said. "So, it has to be sewn back together."

Bryant is likely to miss the pre-season training camps, but Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed that Bryant was in good spirits and was realistically aiming to recover by the start of the 2013/14 NBA season.

"Speaking to him this morning, that certainly was his goal," Kupchak said. "I think it would be aggressive to think he could be ready for training camp ... [but for the season opener] I think that's a goal. I think that's a realistic goal for him.

"He actually gave a message to me to pass on to the guys on the team, most of which I can't share with you right here, but it was a positive message as you might imagine. Very motivational."

Bryant had scored 34 points before leaving the court against the Warriors, and the Lakers' win keeps alive their hopes of an NBA play-off spot. However, the guard has now turned his attention to making a full recovery.

"I was really tired, man. Just tired in the locker room and dejected and thinking about this mountain to overcome," Bryant said after the game. "I mean, this is a long process and wasn't sure I could do it.

"Then your kids walk in and you're like, 'I need to set an example. Daddy is going to be fine.' I can do it. Work hard and just go from there.

"It's a new experience for me. Obviously, there's been a bunch of players that have had the same injury, so all I can do is look at them and what they've done and who had more success coming back quicker and healthier and see what they did and see if I can improve upon it."

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