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NBA: Kobe out 6 weeks with knee injury

LOS ANGELES — Just 11 days after Kobe Bryant made his long-awaited return for the Los Angeles Lakers, the shooting guard is expected to be out for “approximately six weeks” because of a knee injury, the team announced on Thursday.

The 35-year-old, who spent almost eight months on the sidelines with a torn left Achilles’ tendon before making his comeback on December 8, hyper-extended his left knee during Tuesday’s 96-92 win against the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Bryant, a 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam on Thursday and was also examined by a team physician.

“Results of the MRI show that Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee,” the Lakers said in a statement. “He is expected to be out approximately six weeks.”

Bryant’s latest injury comes as a major blow for the Lakers, who only last month signed the league veteran to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension.

“That’s too bad, you hate it for Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters after the team practiced at their El Segundo training facility.

“He’s worked so hard to get back. But he’ll be back. He’ll be back in six weeks. He’s got to weather the storm to get back. We’re going to play hard. We have enough guys and enough talent. We’ll be fine.”

Xavier Henry will take over as starting point guard in Bryant’s absence, the Lakers said.

Bryant has averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in six games this season for the Lakers (12-13) who sit 11th in the 15-team Western Conference.

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