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Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles LakersThe doctor who performed surgery on Kobe Bryant’s ruptured Achilles’ tendon said he expects theLakers star to be back playing at some point next season.

Speaking exclusively to The Times, Dr. Neal ElAttrache said Sunday that Bryant’s competitive drive and mental toughness will give him an edge in recovering from an injury that figures to sideline him at least six to nine months.“I can point to all of the scientific aspects of the repair, but just as important if not more important is, who is that Achilles attached to?” said ElAttrache, who performed the hour-long surgery Saturday.  “In this situation, it’s attached to Kobe Bryant, who has figured out a way to get through some injuries that would ordinarily be career-threatening. Some of the things he’s had go on with him have ended guys’ careers in the NBA.

“He’s figured out a way to get through it and be one of the best players in the NBA.”

ElAttrache, director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, said Bryant’s Grade 3 rupture was typical of hundreds he has repaired over the last 23 years.


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