Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who had recently recovered from a torn Achilles tendon, will be out at least six weeks after sustaining a knee injury in a game this week, the team said.
The 35-year-old guard suffered a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee during the Lakers' Tuesday night 96-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bryant continued to play after the injury and scored 21 points, but an MRI on Thursday confirmed the fracture. No surgery will be required.
The injury is a major blow to the Lakers' playoff aspirations and comes just weeks after Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension.
Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in April and missed the early part of the current season while continuing his recovery. In six games since returning to action, he was averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 assists.
"That's too bad," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said during the team's practice on Thursday.
"You hate it for Kobe. He worked so hard to get back. But he'll be back. He'll be back in six weeks, and we'll deal with it and weather the storm until he gets back."
The Lakers are also having to make do without two injured point guards: Steve Nash, who is struggling with back problems, and Steve Blake.
The team is currently in 11th place in the Western Conference with a record of 12-13. EFE