When Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles in April, most people realized how devastating the injury was especially at the age of 34. As Bryant is relentlessly working to get back on the court, many players have spoken about Bryant’s return using their own personal experiences.
In 2012, Chauncey Billups tore his left Achilles tendon and is the most recent NBA player to have this injury since Bryant. While he only appeared in 22 games for the Clippers the following season, Billups is confident the challenge in front of Bryant will enable him to come back via L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina:
“Somebody like him accomplished every single thing he could ever want to accomplish. This just brought on another challenge for him and something he can say I’m going to conquer that too. That’s the mentality that you take on. That’s the one reason I got through it. When I went down, before I limped off to the locker room, everyone said I’m retired. Those things are what fuel you and make you say I’m going to conquer this.”
With all the hard work Bryant puts in, Billups believes Kobe won’t have to adjust his game when he returns:
“Kobe is going to do just fine. That’s just adding fuel to the fire. He’s going to be fine. He’ll be back playing and doing the things he normally does. If you work hard in your rehab, it’s going to show up and you’re going to be back. We know the hard work he puts in. He’ll be fine.”
While they were rivals in the 2004 NBA Finals, Kobe has mentioned how supportive Billups has been during his recovery. Players like Dominique Wilkins and Isiah Thomas have also reached out to Bryant and they are all optimistic that he will return the same player before the injury.
With no return timetable, Bryant is making progress and has not encountered any setbacks. While the Lakers are currently 3-5, Bryant is taking his time to ensure that he’ll perform at a high level for the remainder of his career.
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