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Kobe Bryant’s Trainer Says Playing Time Not to Blame

LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant’s personal trainer Tim Grover has weighed in on the Laker star guard’s ruptured Achilles injury, saying that in his view the injury had nothing to do with the number of minutes Kobe played.

LA Daily News writer Mark Medina spoke with Grover regarding some widespread concern that over-playing Kobe may have led to the season-ending, career-threatening injury.

But Grover thinks otherwise. “It had nothing to do with the minutes he had been playing or anything of that sort,” Grover said in a phone interview with Medina.  “A torn Achilles tendon is a very freaky injury.  It’s just one of those things that just happened.”

Kobe’s injury happened in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 118-116 victory Friday night over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.  He underwent surgery for the achilles tear on Saturday afternoon.

According to a statement from the Lakers, the surgery was deemed successful, but Kobe is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of 6-9 months as he recuperates.

Kobe’s trainer Grover conceded to Medina the possibility that Bryant’s torn Achilles tendon could have stemmed from the bone spurs in his left foot that he has had “for awhile.”

But Grover said it’s possible for anyone to sustain the injury through everyday movements like climbing out of bed or stepping off a sidewalk.

“Everybody is trying to look at somebody to blame for it whether it be the coaching staff, Kobe, me or whatever it is,” Grover said.  “But it’s more of a freakish injury than anything else.”

Perhaps more than anyone, Grover has seen the difficult, injury-riddled road Bryant has travelled over the past six seasons.  Grover said Bryant has fought through knee, ankle and finger injuries as well as a concussion.

And Grover admits that Bryant’s latest setback is serious indeed.  Beyond missing the rest of this season, the injury may even impact the final year of his contract in the 2013-14 season.

Grover told Medina that the effects could be as much mental as physical.

“The battle with this kind of injury is it’s going to be from the neck up,” Grover said. “If he decides he wants to do this, it will get done. I’m not worried about the physical part of it. I’m worried about the mental state.”

Still, Grover says he saw one important sign that suggests Bryant will fight through it:  after the injury, Bryant bravely stayed on hand at Staples Center to address the media.

“He did exactly what I’d thought he’d do,” Grover said. “He didn’t run and hide. He faced the media like he does all the time and say what’s on his mind and what he thought about it.”

Grover hopes to aid in Bryant’s recovery in any way he can.  In his recent book “Relentless,” Grover chronicles how he frequently collaborates with Bryant during private workouts and rehab sessions in hopes that it maximizes his healing and play.

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