Kobe left the game last Friday night during their win at Sacramento after heeling his Achilles tendon pop. You Anatomists know the Achilles as the calcaneal tendon, right?
In an interview Saturday after Kobe had an MRI, they say it’s a “third degree rupture.” As longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said, “It’s gone. It has to be sewn back together.” The plan is to have Bryant ready to play for the start of next season, providing a rough timetable of six to nine months.
“He’ll be immobilized for quite awhile – a month or more,” Vitti explained. “Then like anything else, he’ll start working on strength and range of motion. This isn’t something you want to speed up or accelerate. You don’t want to lengthen the tendon too soon because then that destroys the repair. It’s a very delicate process of getting the strength and length back into the tendon without overloading it too soon.”
Trainer Tim Grover spoke to news about the matter as well. “This is not Kobe’s fault, because he pushed himself. This is not coaches’ fault. An Achilles [rupture] just happens…I can’t see him not wanting to do this and to come back as Kobe Bryant, the way we know Kobe.”
He also added “I’d be shocked if the minutes had anything to do with it. An Achilles can happen stepping off a sidewalk…”
WHAT IS IT?
Tendons are dense regular connective tissue that TIE muscles to bone. (versus ligaments that LINK bone to bone).
The calcaneal tendon (aka Achilles tendon in layman’s terms), connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg to the calcaneus bone (aka heel bone) in the ankle.
I don’t know much about these tears. What I’ve read is:
This is a type of sprain. 3rd degree is worst. Means there’s a tear that goes through the tendon, and it needs surgery to sew it back up.
In general an ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments around the ankle. Compared to an ankle strain, which is an injury to the tendons or muscles around the ankle. Ankle sprains and strains involve the stretching or tearing of tissue of the ligaments or the muscle-tendon unit, respectively.
Sprains are classified according to the amount of tearing of the ligament. A first-degree sprain is one in which the ligament fibers are over-stretched but intact. A second-degree sprain is one in which some fibers are actually torn. A third-degree sprain is one in which the ligament is completely torn and nonfunctioning.
Strains can be categorized by the same manner as sprains, with first-degree indicating over-stretching, second-degree indicating partial tear, and third-degree indicating complete tear (rupture). Strains of the ankle are generally mild (first-degree). They are similar to sprains in the mechanism of injury, treatment, and prognosis.