Expect to see Kobe Bryant back on court sometime next year.
That's the good news from the doctor who performed Saturday's surgery on the Los Angeles Lakers superstar. But Dr. Neal ElAttrache, cautioned there are numerous pitfalls that could change that scenario.
ElAttrache, who performed the hour-long surgery to repair Bryant's rupture Achilles' tendon, told the Los Angeles Times that Bryant's competitive drive and mental toughness will give him an edge in recovering from the injury suffered on Thursday night. ElAttrache estimates Bryant could be sidelined for six to nine months.
"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?" ElAttrache told the Times. "In this situation, it's attached to Kobe Bryant, who has figured out a way to get through some injuries that would ordinarily be career-threatening. Some of the things he's had go on with him have ended guys' careers."
While ElAttrache did not go into detail about specifics of Bryant's injury, he did say it was a Grade 3 rupture -- the type he has seen and fixed hundreds of times.
--- Steve Nash was scheduled to sit out his seventh straight game for the Lakers on Sunday because of hip and hamstring injuries, but he may return for the team's regular-season finale on Wednesday.
Metta World Peace was scheduled to return to the starting lineup for Sunday's game.
---Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton was suspended one game for throwing an elbow and making contact with the face of"DeMar DeRozan during Chicago's loss in Toronto on Friday. He served the suspension Sunday.
-- Rasheed Wallace, who hasn't played a game for the New York Knicks since mid-December because of a foot stress fracture that required surgery, may be able to return for Monday's game against Charlotte, the New York Post reported.