(Reuters) – Kobe Bryant’s season is over after he suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the Los Angeles Lakers’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
Bryant, the fourth leading scorer in NBA history, will undergo surgery on Saturday, the team said.
“It’s gone, it has to be sewn back together,” team head athletic trainer Gary Vitti said.
Bryant sustained the injury with 3:08 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
He will miss any playoff action for the Lakers, if they can hang on to the final berth in the Western Conference and he may well miss a chunk of next season.
The 34-year-old was quick, however, to dismiss talk of his career being under threat.
“Really, are you kidding?” he responded to reporters in the locker room. “Obviously there’s a bunch of players that have had this same injury, so I know I can do this.
“All I can do is what they’ve done, who had more success getting back quicker and healthier, and see what they did and see if I can improve upon it.”
The Lakers have recovered from a poor start to the season to push themselves into playoff contention but their chances of making an impact will be sorely hurt by the loss of their leading player.
Bryant, a five-times NBA champion, said the injury was the most disappointing moment he has had in his career.
“By far. We worked so hard to put ourselves in a position where we control our own fate,” he said. “It is just terrible. Terrible feeling”.
The injury occurred in fairly innocuous fashion as he went to pass Warriors wing Harrison Barnes, driving to his left before slumping to the floor.
Bryant initially stayed on court, limping to the free throw line and standing on one leg to score two free throws before he headed to the locker-room for treatment.