Kobe Bryant out for a least 6 weeks injury [Video]

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1387486941000-USATSI-7622475Lakers’ Kobe Bryant breaks bone in knee, out 6 weeks

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has a broken bone in his left knee and is expected to miss six weeks, the team announced Thursday afternoon.

Bryant has played six games this season since returning from a torn left Achilles tendon, averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game. He twisted his knee during Tuesday’s win against the Memphis Grizzlies but told news reporters then that it was stiff.

“#BrokenNotBeaten,” Bryant tweeted Thursday, about two hours after the team announced the fractured lateral tibial plateau via Twitter.

“You hate it for Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s worked so hard to get back.”

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The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension worth about $48.5 million this season before even coming back from the Achilles injury. But his production has dropped, with the 13.8 points a game being by far his lowest since his rookie season, 1996-97. The 6.3 assists a game would be a career high, though.

Bryant, a shooting guard for his entire career, had played point guard because of injuries to the Lakers’ top three at the position: Steve Nash (nerve issues in his back), Steve Blake (torn elbow ligament) and Jordan Farmar (torn hamstring). But despite Bryant’s rigid movements, D’Antoni says the previous injury probably wasn’t the cause of this one.

“It can happen at any time,” he said. “There’s always a risk until he gets completely used to playing, but the doctors were all over it. No, that’s just bad luck.”

The Lakers now find themselves with a difficult decision. Swingman Xavier Henry will take over at point guard temporarily. They hoped to keep afloat with Bryant and backup Henry running the point and to avoid signing a free agent in a weak market.

“We’re looking,” D’Antoni said. “But we don’t want to just get anybody. But that’s probably the next step.”

Henry has not played much point guard in his career and was a career underachiever before the Lakers signed him this offseason. He was drafted 12th overall out of Kansas by the Grizzlies, then traded to the New Orleans Hornets after one season. In two seasons there, he failed to crack the rotation before being allowed to hit unrestricted free agency.

The Lakers signed him to a one-year deal, but he has played well in spurts. In four games since taking over as backup point guard, he has averaged 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.6 minutes a game. More pressure falls to the Lakers’ top healthy scorers: center Pau Gasol, shooting guard Jodie Meeks and small forward Nick Young. Also, Jordan Farmar is out as well

 

“We try to simplify, but we always do that, whether we have a point guard or not. I think some of them are getting the concept, just moving the ball,” D’Antoni said. “Pau’s still going to make a lot of plays because he has a point-guard mentality. Now it’s time for Nick to step up, Jodie to step up and play, and they will.”

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