- (Photo: REUTERS)
Kobe Bryant's two free throws taken immediately after tearing his achilles tendon is perhaps the "gutsiest moment" of his career according to his personal trainer.
Los Angeles Lakers trainer, Gary Vitti, has been by Bryant's side since his rookie season in 1996-97, so no one besides Bryant himself knows his body and how it reacts to injuries then Vitti.
Over the years Bryant has played through broken fingers and fluid buildup in his knees, but an achilles tendon tear is on a whole different level as far as pain and being incapacitated.
Inside the Lakers Blog reports that Bryant and Vitti made sort of a "gentlemen's agreement" that he would shoot the free throws and he would walk off the court on his own power as his team would foul immediately to get him out of the game.
"I think it's his gutsiest moment," Vitta said to the blog.
Some thought this injury would be the end of Bryant's legendary career, but it seems to be some extra fuel to fire to make Bryant more competitive and hungry to come back. The Lakers team he will be returning to is noticeably and sizably different with the departure of Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace.
The Lakers may not be a playoff team this year even if they had their superstar healthy, however, do not count Bryant out as he will be playing at the highest level possible when he comes back.
Vitti expects Bryant is just a few days away from using heavy weights and taking part in basketball related activity. The season starts on October 29, and their are eight preseason games before that, so it is not under the realm of possibility that Bryant can be ready for opening day.
"Don't rush it," Vitti said in the blog. "I thought he was going to be worse with pushing, pushing, pushing. But he's been very, very smart about the entire process."