Kobe Bryant on his Injury

December 26, 2013 8:27 am PST
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant addressed the media for the first time since suffering a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee at Memphis. He discussed how he feels physically, what he learned about his game in the six contests since returning from his Achilles injury and much more.Below is a transcription of his comments:

Q: On how he would describe the last week, coming back from his Achilles injury, and then suffering a fracture in his knee after playing six games:
Bryant: Slow. It’s just been a slow in terms of trying to lay off it a little bit and letting it heal. Been doing the right things interms of when you don’t have activity, you really have to watch the other parts of your life like nutrition and things like that. You don’t want to take a step back and gain weight or anything like that. You got to make sure you do thenecessary things to stay where you want.

Q: On the injury happening as it did:
Bryant: It’s funny hearing all the comments and things like that. It can’t help but enhance my focus more. Obviously it’s not something I wanted to have happen, but there’s nothing you can do about it. From that standpoint, you have to look at an injury for exactly what it is, which is something that’s going to heal, and be as strong as it ever was. I was fortunate it wasn’t a meniscus or anything else. There’s nothing I really have to do from from a recovery standpoint other than letting the bones heal and letting the fracture heal. You kind of just have to look at the injury in a vacuum.

Q: On what he can do and what he can’t do while he allows the fracture to heal:
Bryant: What I’ve been able to do is some bike work – a lot of that. They won’t let me put any pressure on it – not yet, in terms of standing or putting too much force on it.

Q: On if there’s any pain – if at all:
Bryant: It’s really not painful, which kind of concerned me after the game. Since I got in the locker room, it just felt like something was off. It felt weird because there was a lot of swelling inside of the knee. It was a different feeling. It wasn’t a painful feeling. When it’s something like that, it always worries me a little bit.

Q: On if he was relieved that the injury news wasn’t an ACL tear or something more serious:
Bryant: I was going in just to be cautious. I was expecting a bone bruise more than anything else. I actually thought (Dr. Steve) Lombardo was joking when he told me.

Q: On if there is any chance he does not come back this season:
Bryant: Not that I’m aware of. My job as an athlete is to train, get healthy, get strong, come back and do my job.

Q: On if this injury at all affects his Achilles:
Bryant: It can’t hurt it. It just gives me more time to get it even stronger and stronger. From a game standpoint, it gives me an opportunity to evaluate where my body was feeling. You have to respond to several challenges. One was the Achilles and the other was playing for 18 years and how your body responds. It gives me a great opportunity to look at some of the issues or challenges I might have been having physically in other areas, and then now I can readjust my program and come back even better.

Q: On if he came back too early from his Achilles injury and if this injury was, in any way, related:
Bryant: I don’t think one had anything to do with the other. We’ve evaluated it pretty extensively. The fact of the matter is anybody of us can get hurt at any moment. The key for us as athletes is to block that fear out. When you have injuries, that fear is enhanced. You kind of put yourself under a microscope a little bit and start thinking about it too much, when in reality, it could happen to anybody. You have to be able to tune that noise out and be able to perform.

Q: On if he learned anything about his game in the six contests he played before getting injured:
Bryant: I felt like I learned that I pretty much could do everything I could before, particularly in the last game. The biggest part of my game is the last two or three years has always been getting to a space on the floor, being able to elevate and shoot pull up jump shots and getting into the paint. It was a great test going up against Tony Allen, who in my opinion has been the guy who’s defended me the best individually since I got into the league. (It was my) fourth game in five nights and be able to go up against him, and respond to that challenge, I feel really good about it.

Q: On finishing the game with a fracture in his knee:
Bryant: I didn’t know it was fractured. I don’t think any of us did. It was just one of those things you just don’t know. You go out there and play. The knee is stiff and yeah it’s painful, but it was no worse than what I had played with in the past.

Q: On whether he’s erring on the side of caution with this injury and not trying to rush back too soon:
Bryant: My philosophy on that stuff is you do your job. You owe it to the organization and your teammates to get ready as fast and as quickly as you possibly can and to come back as strong as you possibly can be.

Q: On if there was any self-doubt that had crept back into his mind after this injury:
Bryant: No. Obviously you have the negative side of the injury, but aside from that, I felt like I had some really good questions answered in terms of what I can do on a basketball floor. It was kind of like you’re experimenting from game to game and measuring things and trying to figure things out. I felt pretty good about that, which was the biggest question mark. The knee is not really a concern to me. The fracture will heal, but the biggest question mark was how would my Achilles respond to my game, and I felt pretty good about that.

Q: On how he would have gauged his return from his Achilles injury:
Bryant: The Achilles felt fine. It was strong. From getting out on the court from that, it was a matter of the rest of the body catching up. Also, like I said before, there was some natural tentativeness, and what you can and what you can’t do, so you kind of just go down the list and try to improve from game to game.

Q: On Jordan Farmar’s growth as a player from when he first played with him till now:
Bryant: I think it’s always concepts. When you have a young player that comes into the league, it’s kind of grasping the entire feel of the game and his responsibilities and commitments to the group. I think now he has a better understanding of that and how to manage different personalities or how to manage the tempo of the game. I think it’s just a natural maturity that comes along with playing.

Q: On Nick Young’s growth this season:
Bryant: I see him responding to the challenge of being a better all-around player. Those are some of the things we’ve challenged him with here. Scoring the ball is something he can do. He’s been doing it his entire career, but we try to challenge him, and I try to challenge him to do more things – rebound, assists, defend, steals, charges, things like that.

Q: On what he does to keep his spirits up and prevent himself from getting too down or too low:
Bryant: My spirits are fine. My spirits are fine. I feel more locked in now than I have been my entire career because of it. The spirit is fine, the focus is great and we’re just going to have to see what happens when I come back.