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Lakers' Kobe Bryant undergoes surgery on Achilles tear, eyes recovery timeline

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant will be out six to nine months after having surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant had surgery on Saturday to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg and is expected to miss six to nine months, the Lakers announced.

Athletic trainer Gary Vitti told reporters that Bryant's surgery was to repair the "third-degree rupture" and that "the plan" is for the star guard to return for the start of the 2013-14 season. If Bryant returns in six months, he could potentially be available for the Lakers' regular-season opener, usually set in late October. If his recuperation extends to nine months, Bryant would return in January. The 15-time All-Star is set to make $30.5 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Bryant, 34, left Friday's victory over Golden State after falling to the court in the fourth quarter while attempting to drive to his left past Harrison Barnes. Bryant walked off the court under his own power but moved gingerly. He departed with 3:06 remaining in the fourth quarter after making two free throws and did not return, finishing with 34 points (on 9-for-21 shooting), five rebounds and four assists in 45 minutes.

After the game, Bryant was open about the extent of the injury, even though the Lakers initially listed it as a "probable" tear.

“I made a move I’ve made a million times and it popped,” Bryant said, calling the injury “by far” the biggest disappointment of his career.

The 17-year veteran also posted a message on his @KobeBryant Twitter account.

"Random tears of devastation and doubt mixed with inner determination and will," he wrote Friday night.

He added a lengthy message on Facebook, excerpted here.

This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing?

Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me...Then again maybe not! It's 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I'm wide awake.

Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever. One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.

On Saturday, Bryant posted a photo of himself to Instagram as he prepared for surgery.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant prepares for surgery on his torn Achilles. (@KobeBryant on Twitter) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant prepares for surgery on his torn Achilles. (@KobeBryant on Instagram)

L.A. improved to 43-37 with the win and maintained a one-game lead over Utah for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers have just two games remaining in the regular season, against the Spurs on Sunday and the Rockets on Wednesday.
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