Propped up on crutches, evidence of tears in his red eyes, Kobe Bryant gave what had to be one of the hardest interviews of his career. In front of his locker was the picture of why the Lakers’ thrilling 118-116 win over the Warriors was irrelevant. Bryant’s season is likely over.
An MRI is expected to confirm what the Lakers said doctors suspect is a torn left Achilles tendon. Even if the Lakers beat out Utah for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, Kobe won’t be going to the playoffs.
KOBE: “I made a move that I make a million times and it just popped.”
Here is the transcript from his postgame interview, plus others …
Biggest disappointment of your career?
“Yes, by far. We worked so hard to put ourselves in position to control our own fate. I certainly have done a lot of work to prepare myself. It’s just bad luck.”
How will the team move on without you?
“Just continue to play. We’ve dealt with injuries all year. I’ll do what I can watching film and communicating to the guys the best form of attackingc ertain teams, and go from there.”
How his injury impacts him next season?
“I’m not really sure. I’ve never had to do with something like this. It is a new experience for me. obviously, there have been a bunch of players that have had the same injury. All I can do is look at them, see what they’ve done,a nd see who had more success coming back quicker and healthier. See what they did and try to improve upon it.”
On his next steps?
“MRI, surgery and then recovery.”
“I don’t have enough words to express how much I admire Kobe and what he has been trying to do all seaosn long. These last 10 days of just fightingf or the team and fighting through pain, no matter what, wanting to be on the floor every second, has been just incredible.”
“It’s tough. He is a little down right now. … We have to close ranks and we hate it. I hate it for Kobe. I hate it for us. I hate it for LA. But you have to close ranks. There is no going back now. We will come out Sunday and come out swinging. Like I said, we have plenty of guys we can go to, and with Pau playing at such a high level, with Dwight. The focus will be a little different. We will get Nash back Sunday, if not right after. We have enough to keep winning.”