EL, SEGUNDO CALIFORNIA – Kobe Bryant is expected to miss about six weeks with an injured left knee.
The Lakers said Thursday that an MRI showed Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee.
The team said Bryant had hyperextended the knee in Tuesday night’s game at Memphis.
On Thursday afternoon, a tweet was posted on Bryant’s official Twitter account that consisted solely of the hashtag: BrokenNotBeaten.
The injury is the latest setback for the Lakers star, who had only returned to the court on Dec. 8 after nearly eight months away because of a torn Achilles tendon.
Los Angeles had signed the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history to a two-year contract extension last month. Bryant’s new deal is reportedly worth $48.5 million and takes him into his 20th season with the Lakers.
Bryant was hurt in his sixth game back when he matched his season high with 21 points. He went to the floor with 3:25 left in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s 96-92 win at Memphis.
He stayed on the floor briefly before standing up, and Bryant bent over at the waist as he flexed his left leg back and forth. He walked to the bench with trainer Gary Vitti but returned to the floor following the timeout.
He hit a deep 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help clinch the win and finished playing more than 32 minutes. Bryant said after the game that he kind of twisted his knee but it felt all right.
“I just hyperextended it,” Bryant said when asked to describe what happened on the play. “I tend to hyperextend my knees every now and then.”
Thunder rout Bulls
Oklahoma City AP
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 107-95 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win.
Russell Westbrook had 20 points and reserve Reggie Jackson added 18 to help the Thunder improve to 13-0 at Chesapeake Arena. Oklahoma City is the only NBA team with a perfect home record.
Joakim Noah had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the banged-up Bulls, who have lost four straight and seven of eight. Taj Gibson scored 16 points and D.J. Augustin added 15.
Chicago played without Kirk Hinrich (back tightness) and Luol Deng (sore Achilles), and Jimmy Butler left during the game with a right ankle injury.
The Thunder led by 15 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but the Bulls pulled within seven on Augustin’s 3 with 8:50 to go.
Spurs 104, Warriors 102
In Oakland, Tiago Splitter tipped in a rebound with 2.1 seconds left, lifting short-handed San Antonio to a victory over Golden State.
Stephen Curry hit a tying 3-pointer on the previous possession for the Warriors. After two misses by teammates, Splitter elevated around the rim to tap in the winning score.
San Antonio gave Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili the night off to rest, and Tony Parker sat out for the second straight game with a bruised right shin.
The Spurs still managed to get the road win, using big nights from Marco Belinelli, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills to hand the Warriors another devastating defeat in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference semifinals.
Belinelli scored 28 points against his ex-team, Leonard had 21 points and 10 boards and Mills added 20 points and five assists.
David Lee had 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who trailed by eight after three sloppy quarters. Curry scored 30 points and tied his career high with 15 assists.