1 of 2

LOS ANGELES — TV cameramen yelled and cursed at each other as dozens of reporters scrambled to get an interview with Gary Vitti.

It's never a good sign if the longtime Lakers' trainer is the target of a media crush, but somebody had to provide medical details Saturday of the hard news: Kobe Bryant is sidelined six to nine months because of a torn left Achilles' tendon.

NBA teams begin playing around Oct. 31, meaning Bryant theoretically could be back in time for the start of next season.

"I think that's a realistic goal for him," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said.

Maybe it's too optimistic. Maybe not. Soccer star David Beckham returned from an Achilles' injury in five months. Clippers guard Chauncey Billups needed more than 91/2 months.

Bryant had surgery Saturday afternoon to sew the tendon back together. He was hurt barely 12 hours earlier, while driving to the basket with 3:08 to play in the Lakers' 118-116 victory over the Warriors. He stayed in the game after a timeout, made two free throws because he was fouled on the play, and headed to the locker room.

Bryant, 34, was in the process of playing eight consecutive quarters without resting. He averaged 45.6 minutes in his last seven games and was averaging 27.3 points a game.

— Los Angeles Times