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Was Excessive Play the Reason for Kobe’s Injury?

It seems that whenever a star player is hurt, the coach is the first one to take the blame — even often more than a player who caused the injury. And while there was no enemy interference when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon on Friday, Coach Mike D’Antoni is taking even more than his fair share of the blame. Critics are calling the coach out, saying that too many minutes were the cause of Kobe’s injury, and that D’Antoni is personally responsible. D’Antoni in turn, has responded in a way that both accepts his part in it, but that also shows no regret.

Kobe had played a lot, even for someone in the prime of their NBA career. But the 34-year-old has played 17 seasons, and he’s only missed two this year. He averages 38.6 minutes a game, which is second in the league; and that increased to 45.6 minutes these last couple of weeks as the Lakers have made their push towards the playoffs. It was definitely a time his team needed him and according to D’Antoni, Kobe knew that, and it was one of the determining factors in why he played.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have played him that many minutes,” D”Antoni said. “But without Steve Nash, Bryant said ‘I’ve got to do that or we’re not going to make the playoffs.’ And for him, that was the most important thing. It’s tough.”

D’Antoni says that had the team been better in the start of the season, Kobe wouldn’t have been relied on as much, and he takes responsibility in that sense.

“There’s a little bit of, ‘Yeah, you’re right, and we were playing a little bit with fire,'” he says. “But I thought managing tendinitis, or where Bryant couldn’t finish a game…nobody knows if there’s a correlation, so I’m not defensive about it. We’d probably do it again the same way. It’s just too bad we put ourselves in this hole. That’s the biggest thing.”

The injury has certainly ended Kobe’s season and kept him out of the playoffs, as the injury requires at least six months to heal.

What do you think? Is D’Antoni to blame for Kobe’s injury? Or is it just a case of really bad luck?

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