ORLANDO, Fla. — Like countless others, Celtics coach Doc Rivers is emotionally shaken by the season-ending torn left Achilles tendon that Lakers star Kobe Bryant suffered Friday.
“That was awful to watch. It really was,” Rivers said here Saturday before his team faced the Magic. “Listen, my players are my favorite, but if I had another one, it would be Kobe.
Rivers continued, “I just love his heart and his toughness. Heck, I love the fact that he got up and made two free throws a torn Achilles. I would’ve been laying on the floor, crying like a baby. He is as tough a competitor that we’ve seen. Ever. He’ll be missed.”
The 35-year-old Bryant was scheduled to have surgery Saturday and he’s expected to be out 6 to 9 months, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told reporters.
“I wouldn’t bet against him coming back and being great. I will tell you that,” Rivers said. “Kobe, if he wants to come back and be great, he’ll be that.”