The Lakers kept their playoff hopes alive with a come from behind win over the Warriors on Friday, but likely lost their best player in the process.
Kobe Bryant exited the game with 3:08 to play, after suffering the injury and then hitting two free throws to tie the game at 109 before he limped off the floor and into the locker room, unable to return.
Afterward, Lakers PR said that Bryant suffered a “probable torn Achilles,” and that an MRI would take place on Saturday to confirm the diagnosis.
Bryant conducted his postgame interviews with tears in his eyes and on crutches, which would lead us to believe that he is in fact done for the season due to the injury.
Bryant has been doing everything in his power to drag the Lakers into the postseason, playing at least 47 of a possible 48 minutes in four of his team’s last six games, before logging 45 minutes against the Warriors until the injury forced him to the locker room.
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni has to shoulder a portion of the blame for Bryant’s injury, given the fact that he allowed Kobe to play all of those minutes in his 17th NBA season with zero regard to the toll it would take on him from a pure health perspective.
None of that matters now, however. It’s long been accepted that the Lakers wouldn’t be able to do much if they ended up securing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But without Bryant, they won’t do anything at all, and the team will remain in a state of flux and uncertainty until Bryant recovers fully from this injury.