The Lakers announced Friday night that All-Star guard Kobe Bryant has suffered a "probable torn left Achilles" tendon and will undergo an MRI to confirm the injury on Saturday. If confirmed, the injury would surely end his 2012-13 season.
"Terrible," Bryant said during postgame comments. "A terrible feeling. ... I made a move I've made a million times, and [the Achilles] just popped."
Bryant, 34, left the Lakers' 118-116 win over the Warriors on Friday after falling to the court in the fourth quarter while attempting to drive to his left past Harrison Barnes on the perimeter. Bryant walked off the court under his own power but moved gingerly. He departed with 3:06 remaining in the fourth quarter and did not return, finishing with 34 points (on 9-for-21 shooting), five rebounds and four assists in 45 minutes.
After the game, the five-time champion and 15-time All-Star reportedly spoke openly about the possibility of surgery and would not entertain the idea that the injury, which could sideline him for months, would be career-ending.
"Really? Really?" Bryant said in response to a query on the subject, according to Lakers.com.
CBSSports.com reported that Bryant was already using chatter that this injury would end his career as motivation: "It's fueling me. It's fueling me. I can feel it already."
Bryant is averaging 27.3 points, six assists and 5.6 rebounds in 78 games. He has averaged 38.6 minutes per game this season, tied for second most in the NBA. He has played at least 40 minutes in L.A.'s last seven games, including a 48-minute effort on Wednesday at Portland. Bryant previously missed time this season with a sprained ankle.
The 17-year veteran apparently suffered two earlier minor injuries against the Warriors. He came up holding his left knee after a hard drive to the hoop and appeared to favor his right ankle after a spinning drive.
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.
UPDATE: Here's Bryant discussing the injury after the game: