Anything that can go wrong is going wrong for the Lakers as they announced Thursday that Kobe Bryant will miss six weeks after suffering a fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. If Bryant is sidelined exactly six weeks, he will be out for L.A.’s next 21 games with an expected return date in the last week of January. Bryant, 35, has appeared in only six games this season after rehabilitating from a torn left Achilles tendon that ended his 2012-13 season in mid-April. He made his season debut on Dec. 8th against the Raptors, just 11 days ago. “You hate it for Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s worked so hard to get back.” L.A. was 10-9 before Bryant’s return and 2-4 since. The 15-time All-Star guard is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 5.7 turnovers in 29.5 minutes this season.
The injury occurred during L.A.’s 96-92 victory over Memphis on Tuesday. With a little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bryant fell to the court and clutched his left knee after backing down Tony Allen in the post. There didn’t appear to be any direct contact to his knee on the play, and Bryant returned to the game following the injury. He finished with 21 points (on 9-for-18 shooting), five rebounds and four assists. “I twisted it a little bit, it’s a little stiff right now,” Bryant told TWC SportsNet during a post-game interview. “I was a little uncertain of it in the fourth quarter. All in all, my body felt pretty good considering the schedule.” The Lakers are already coping without Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake due to various injuries.