In the hours following the devastating injury to Kobe Bryant, it was immediately fashionable (and on the surface, even logical) to pin the blame for it firmly on the shoulders of Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Bryant had been playing an insane amount of minutes recently in an attempt to drag his team into the playoffs, and conventional wisdom said that D’Antoni should have exerted more control over his star player to prevent him from playing himself into an injury like this one.
But a torn Achilles is more of a random occurrence than it is an injury that happens due to being worn down, and Bryant’s personal trainer, Tim Grover, said as much on Saturday.
“It had nothing to do with the minutes he had been playing or anything of that sort,” Grover said in a phone interview with this newspaper. “A torn Achilles tendon is a very freaky injury. It’s just one of those things that just happened.”
Grover conceded the possibility that Bryant’s torn Achilles tendon could stem from the bone spurs in his left foot that he has had “for a while.” But Grover said it’s common for anyone to suffer the injury through every-day movements, such as climbing out of bed or stepping off a sidewalk.
“Everybody is trying to look at somebody to blame for it whether it be the coaching staff, Kobe, me or whatever it is. But everyone who is involved with him has to take responsibility in this. But it’s more of a freakish injury than anything else.”
If you want to continue to blame Bryant or D’Antoni for the injury, go right ahead. But this comes from as solid a source as there is on the matter, and we prefer to deal in reality here rather than in pure speculation.