Bryant wasn't the first athlete to suffer the injury, but he appeared to join an exclusive group of unfortunate players. This wasn't a broken bone or a torn ACL that fans feel relatively comfortable enough to offer an armchair recovery period.
Fans knew the news was bad, but couldn't peg down just how bad it was.
Apparently Bryant's no different. Just a shade over two months removed from surgery to repair the tendon, he's still assessing the damage.
The latest updates came from the hobbled star himself who sat down for an ESPN interview while on a trip to Brazil:
He admitted to having some serious questions about his recovery in the wake of his injury, so he sought out another L.A. celebrity sports figure who knows exactly what he's going through:
David Beckham, whose storied soccer career included a stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS, tore his left Achilles while on loan with AC Milan in 2010. He had surgery in March of that year and returned to the pitch for the Galaxy in September, later helping the team win the 2011 MLS Cup.
Bryant said Beckham's successful return from his injury leaves him "pretty encouraged" about his own recovery:
That news should be plenty encouraging for Lakers nation, since Bryant appears to have backed off of his original hope to return on opening day next season and is now targeting November or December as his return date.
But if post-surgery Bryant is anywhere close to his pre-surgery form, Lakers fans know that he's well worth the wait.