Nuggets coach Brian Shaw laments injury to Kobe Bryant

Pair won five championships together with the Los Angeles Lakers
by Aaron Lopez

Having spent 11 years with Kobe Bryant as a player and assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw knows the 14-time All-Star as well as anyone.

So when Shaw saw Bryant fall to the floor earlier this week, he paid particular attention to his facial expression.

“There’s a certain look that he has on his face when it’s a serious injury,” Shaw said Friday. “He grabbed his knee and it looked like he looked across the floor at the trainer Gary Vitti. At that point, I thought it was something serious.”

Bryant stayed in the game but was later diagnosed with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. He is expected to miss at least six weeks; the Nuggets face the Lakers in Los Angeles on Jan. 5.

The injury occurred just nine days after Bryant, 35, made his season debut following his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon.

“It’s tough because I know how hard he worked to get back,” Shaw said. “Unfortunately, that’s what happens a lot of times. When you’ve come back from an injury, and you’ve worked so hard on a certain area of your body, something else breaks down because maybe it’s overcompensating.

“For him at this point, it’s kind of a devastating injury. They say six weeks, but who knows? At some point, Father Time always catches up with you. Even though he’s only 35 years old, he has years and years and years of wear and tear. I wish him the best. I know he’s down now, but he’ll work hard to show everybody that he can come back and finish what he started.”