Kobe Bryant’s Crazed Return Has Already Started, Andrew Wiggins and High School’s Best Show Out in Brooklyn

Here we are, the day after. We’re posting this almost exactly 24 hours after Kobe Bryant‘s left Achilles tendon blew up in Oakland. Deep into the wee hours of the night and all day Saturday, the basketball world online was all about Kobe, his injury and what’s next. As we’ve said here though, the only words that really, truly matter are his. In case you missed it, in the middle of the night, a few hours after he hurt himself, Bean (figuratively) put pen to paper on his Facebook page to vent. Pretty great stuff from our generation’s greatest player facing his basketball mortality in real time … And a few hours after his Facebook essay, Kobe went under the knife to repair the Achilles (the lead pic today is from Kobe’s instagram account, posted as he was heading into surgery). Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told media members that it’s a 6-9 month timetable for recovery. Asked if that means Kobe is going to be back for opening night next season, he responded with “That’s the plan.” We don’t doubt that we will see him that night, but what kind of Kobe will it be? Achilles injuries seem to be a lot like ACL reconstructions (unless you’re Adrian Peterson), when you’re not really “back” until the second year after the injury. And if it has robbed him of his explosiveness, will we be fast-forwarding to what Kobe would be at 38, 39, 40 years old? MJ-esque with added bulk and a game that is based on back-to-the-basket turnaround jumpers? … During the day, The Rock tweeted this: “Sending my bud @kobebryant strength w/ his achilles. Tore mine & had it reattached in ’06. I know the pain. You’ll come back even greater.” But he just lost at Wrestlemania to guy wearing cargo shorts and running shoes so what does he know … By the way, as you’re reading this, Kobe has already probably started his rehab assault … And replacing Kobe Bryant on the Lakers’ roster? The immortal Andrew Goudelock is reportedly being called up from the D-League … Chicago’s Richard Hamilton has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and making contact with DeMar DeRozan‘s face …

Jump to the next page for the Clash of Titans in the West and what happened at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn…

Saturday night in Memphis featured an intense preview of a potential first-round playoff series between the Grizzlies and the Clippers. L.A. survived a tough, back-and-forth game that featured a Memphis attack led by Marc Gasol‘s 18 points, 15 boards and seven assists. The Grizz were in good shape until the fourth where they suffered through multiple scoring droughts, including the final three+ minutes where they only mustered one field goal … Memphis fans cannot be happy with the officiating down the stretch. On their two most vital possessions in the final minute, the refs let a lot of contact between Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph go unchecked. On the first one, Zach scored a bucket at the rim, and Blake could have easily been whistled for contact with the body. The second no call came with just five seconds left and Memphis down two. Mike Conley tried an entry pass in to Z-Bo, and through a ton of contact, Blake was able to steal it and ended up going to the line on a clear path foul. Ball game … Suns, have some Ricky Rubio. Minnesota topped Phoenix 105-93 behind Rubio’s 24 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals … With Rubio missing the first chunk of the season due to his ACL recovery, and Kevin Love only playing 18 games, it was a lost year for Minnesota before it ever really started. And with Love undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery a few days ago, it really is all about next season. Love was seen yesterday without crutches and told reporters that he will have a clean bill of health in a month and promised reporters that he will be back stronger than ever next season … There is going to be a press conference today in Ann Arbor where (we assume), Trey Burke is going to declare for the NBA Draft. How high do you think the consensus national player of the year will go? We have seen everything from low lottery to one NBA ESPN writer today saying that he’d take Burke No. 1 overall … Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire were on hand last night in Brooklyn to watch Andrew Wiggins, The Harrison Twins, Wayne Selden, Jabari Parker, Chris Walker, Julius Randle and more play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Parker and Randle (pictured) walked away as Co-MVPs of the dunk bonanza. We’ll hit you with highlights ASAP … Drake performed after the game and gave Wiggins (19 points) and Tyler Ennis exclusive shout outs during his show … We’re out like Trey.

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