Dr. Neal ElAttrache explained that both Kobe's mental and physical toughness will put him back on the floor in 6-9 months. He stated:
“I can point to all of the scientific aspects of the repair, but just as important if not more important is, who is that Achilles attached to? When they tear, they usually tear in a little bit of a shredded fashion, like two ends of a mop. In that way, this was exactly like a typical tear. It would be considered a Grade 3 tear, where the two ends were completely separated. Some of the stitching has to be a little meticulous because usually the tendon ends are shredded, so you have to do a little bit of darning, sort of like darning a sock.”
If a doctor tells Bryant it will be 6-9 months, you know he'll try to beat the odds and make it five, and it may also be good rehabbing time for his ragged knees, both of which he injured in the same game against the Golden State Warriors.
But that's not to say they haven't been bothering him all season. And don't forget, he's been playing with an ankle that's basically taped together as well.
Dr. ElAttrache went on to explain the recovery process, saying:
“You want to get them weight-bearing as soon as possible, to some degree, but it’s got to be in a protected way. Early on, the tendon is malleable and stretchable, so you want to get them using the muscle and getting on their leg and weight bearing for all the other reasons, even the remote reasons like the hip and the back and all the muscles in the lower leg. All that without stretching the tendon. The problem is, the longer you’re off of it, you develop this limp that’s very difficult to break. And the limp is detrimental to the tendon. Because as the foot goes down, you’re a little bit reluctant to get up on the ball of your foot to push off in time. That’s counterproductive, because the longer the heel stays on the ground as you’re going through your gait cycle, the more tension on the Achilles.”
At least he's got the best doctors in the biz in his corner, because nobody puts Kobe in the corner. Maybe he'll get some healing tips from Metta World Peace too.
P.S. Kobe joined Instagram just in time to tweet recovery pics @kobebryant