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Dominique Wilkins’ advice to Kobe Bryant: Be patient

Apr 14, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

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Not many people can relate what Kobe Bryant is going through — an elite NBA player who tears his Achilles and is going to attempt a comeback in his mid-30s.

Dominique Wilkins is one.

On a January night in 1992, a 32-year-old Wilkins (who was averaging 28.1 points and 7 rebounds a game that season) tore his Achilles and needed to have surgery. He missed the rest of that season.

He had advice for Kobe, speaking with the USA Today.

“That’s tough, man. That’s tough,” Wilkins told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. “As you get older, you don’t heal as easily like we did when we were younger. Six months is quick. I will tell you that.

“It took me nine months to really get back to the form and the level that I once played. He’s got to be patient. That’s the biggest thing for me. He has to be patient.”

Wilkins bounced back — that next season he averaged 29.9 points a game, and while his efficiency dipped some he played in a couple more All-Star games and was still a force.

Wilkins said he could relate to what Kobe went to but he also thinks Kobe can bounce back.

“When I found out, when I tore mine, I was just depressed,” Wilkins said. “It’s the same thing Kobe said (on Friday night), ‘How can it happen to me? Why now? Why me? When I’m playing so well and the team has a chance to get in the playoffs and I tear my Achilles tendon?’ So once he gets over the frustration of this injury happening — go get surgery, and now you have to put together a plan for yourself to rehabilitate that injury….

“It’s going to be a process, because you’ve got to get the strength back, got to get that range of motion back, and you’ve got to feel comfortable walking normally with that injury,” Wilkins said. “It takes time. But there’s no doubt in my mind that once he re-focuses himself, gets over the frustration of having this injury, that he’s going to come back and be as good as ever.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Nique is who immediately came to mind as soon as it was announced Friday night. Not scrubs like Brand and Sam Vincent, who I witnessed tear theirs.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 14, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Bit of a lucky charm, are ya?

  2. melkipershero - Apr 14, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    No one sees the silver lining. Dwight was 80-90% gone. Now I’d say 80-90% stays. Amnesty Kobe, tell him to take the full year off, save something like $80 million including taxes. Gear up for 2014-15 as his final year, possibly with Lebron? ( LONGGG shot )

    • tuberippin - Apr 14, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      How high are you right now?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Dwight was never going anywhere. They are going to amnesty Ron. No sense in amnestying Kobe when he will be back by the All Star Break. If he were sure to be out until the start of the 2014-2015 season where they could bring him back after the calendar year following the amnesty period, then sure.

      Nothing long shot about James. No one knows, just like no one saw him going to Miami. That team has this year and next to capitalize before Wade and Bosh begin to fall off precipitously. They already cannot add anyone of any value. So you bandwagoners will have your third team in six years in 2014-2015.

      • melkipershero - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Dwight was never going anywhere…

        Youre not much of a body language watcher. You think Dwights happy watching Kobe shoot and shoot? Hell Kobe had a 47 point game last week and he and Pau bitched. Seriously, after a win. Its LA or HOU ( who have a much younger core, just need a defensive identity, aka Dwight)

        Dwights not cut out for LA. He doesnt live and die with each loss like Kobe or some of the ex Lakers expect.

        Let him rush it and be back around next February so then he can do the same thing again. This isnt an injury to rush. (Look at the article above)

      • melkipershero - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        I dont hide the fact im a lebron fan. Not a heat fan. Grizzlies fan.

  3. patfic15 - Apr 14, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Nique still doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      Sure doesn’t and it sickens me. The rigged dunk contest and being with a bunch of stiffs and specialists, yet carried them to the playoffs every year? If not for an all world performance by Bird, the Hawks would have been able to bang with Detroit in the ECF, I feel.

  4. hojo20 - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I’m also thinking a achilles tear ended Isaiah Thomas’ career.

  5. melkipershero - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Going on a week sober actually (doesnt sound like much but ive smoked every day for years now)

    Of course Kobe would have to be on board. Either way hes getting his $30 million.

  6. money2long - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    be patient kobe. andrew goudelock to the rescue. seriously. he’s on his way to LA

  7. decimusprime - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Much respect ‘Nique but a lot has happened in medical science in the last 21 years. Not to mention Kobe is literally a freak of nature with his pain tolerance. He tried to walk of an achilles tear…and did until he got to the locker room. Six months isn’t a long shot for Mamba.

    • melkipershero - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      Theres a difference between playing hurt and playing injured

    • badintent - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      The surgery technique is better but the real key is the German Stem cell treatment that Kobe used for his knees. I know a tennis pro that had a big time operation and was told by his Doctor that he had to wait 3 months before HGH would aid in the healing process.Anyone have Arodless’s phone number ?

  8. rodericksilva - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Take Dwight. I’ll keep Gasol.

  9. yousuxxors - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    am I the only one who thinks the Lakers are better off without Kobe?

  10. frankyvito - Apr 15, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    I have advice for Nique. Kobe doesn’t want to hear anyone’s common sense or logic.

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