Bryant leg break blow for the Lakers

Ramona Shelburne
December 19, 2013
Bryant played half the game against the Grizzlies with the break © Getty Images

Kobe Bryant is expected to miss six weeks with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Los Angeles Lakers announced on Thursday.

Bryant suffered the injury on Tuesday night during the visiting Lakers' 96-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. An MRI exam revealed that Bryant played for a half against the Grizzlies with the break.

The news is an undeniable blow to the Lakers, who in late November signed Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension before the 35-year-old had made it back onto the court from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered in April.

"It's too bad," coach Mike D'Antoni said at the team's practice Thursday. "You hate it for Kobe. He worked so hard to get back. But he'll be back. He'll be back in six weeks, and we'll deal with it and weather the storm until he gets back."

The injury news for the Lakers didn't get any better regarding Steve Nash.

The team also announced on Thursday that the veteran point guard - limited to just six games this season - will miss an additional four weeks because of nerve root irritation.

Nash was re-evaluated during the team's just-completed road trip.

Bryant, meanwhile, entered the 2013-14 campaign hoping to become the first player to rupture an Achilles and make it all the way back to All-Star status since Dominique Wilkins in 1992-93.

He returned to the court December 8 - in LA's 20th game of the season - and was averaging 13.8 points and 6.3 assists in six games, shooting 42.5% from the field and averaging 29.5 minutes. He tied his season high with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting in Tuesday's win against the Grizzlies, hitting a deep 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help clinch the win.

Bryant said after the game, in which he played a season-high 33 minutes, that he kind of twisted his knee but it felt all right.

"I just hyperextended it," Bryant said when asked to describe what happened on the play. "I tend to hyperextend my knees every now and then."

The Lakers are 2-4 since Bryant returned. They entered Thursday's play at 12-13 and in 11th place in the Western Conference.

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