With Kobe Bryant’s return near, many former and current players who ruptured their Achilles have spoken about the Lakers star and their expectations. While Chauncey Billups was the most recent NBA player to sustain the injury, Elton Brand ruptured his in the 2007 off-season at 28 years old.
Although Brand was able to fully recover and post his usual career numbers, he was amazed to see Bryant knock down two free throws before heading to the locker room. At the time of the injury, Brand initially thought it was a ankle or knee injury via LA Daily’s Mark Medina:
“To me, it didn’t register at first that it was an Achilles tear. I thought there was something with his ankle or knee. He knocks the free throws and then walks off the court. Then I find out that it was an Achilles tear. It’s unbelievable. And to make them. To make two free throws and willing your team to the playoffs, he’s just an exceptional basketball player. You can barely balance and walk on your own. For him to make two free throws was amazing.”
While Brand hasn’t personally spoken to Bryant, he believes the shooting guard won’t have to adjust his game and will remain at the top of his game:
“My perspective with him is he wasn’t the greatest player and the best player in the league through all those years for nothing. He works tirelessly. He’s going to find a way. If anybody can do it to get back to the highest level, he’s going to do it. I came close. But I know he can really do it. He’s going to find a way with all the technological advances out there. He’s flying to Germany. He’s doing everything just to be the best again. I think he can do it. Once he ultimately returns, he’s going to be at that high level. He’s got the skill. He’s got the technological advances. He’s in Germany. Who knows what else he’s doing. He’s doing everything legally. But he’s finding everything that can help him be the best. He’ll find a way. He feeds off that stuff.”
Brand also worked with Dr. Judy Seto back in 2007 and says the process is painful. While there may be new medical advances, he says that Seto manually broke down the scar tissue to get mobility back in the joint.
While it was a tedious process, Brand was able to return at a high-level and Lakers fans should be optimistic that Bryant will do the same with the help of Dr. Seto. Kobe is ahead of schedule and has not suffered any setbacks so far.
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