A torn Achilles is one of the most difficult injuries to recover from in all of sports. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant knows this firsthand and new San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is now forging his own recovery path.
Sherman suffered his injury last November while still with the Seattle Seahawks. He immediately took inspiration from Bryant, walking off the field under his own power. A Compton, Calif., native, Sherman grew up a huge fan of Bryant’s and the two developed a friendship over that past few years.
So it makes sense the five-time champion would call Sherman and help him through the recovery process, which the All-Pro cornerback revealed in an interview with ESPN’s Nick Wagoner:
“He and I had a previous relationship and talked and texted all the time,” Sherman said. “So he gave me some pointers and things I needed to do early on in the process to make sure that I expedited the healing process and I was more proactive than reactive. I think that was one of the big things.”
Bryant made it a point to give Sherman pointers on how to help get through the day-to-day recovery as well as big picture advice to not get too far ahead of himself and set himself back further. Now that Sherman is set to begin the NFL season, the former Lakers star believes the toughest part for him will be forgetting about the injury:
“For him, I think it’s just the mental aspect of forgetting the injury,” Bryant said. “That’s a challenge enough. When you come back from an Achilles injury, that really is the biggest challenge of just forgetting about it and understanding that there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Oftentimes it is the mental part of injury recovery that takes longer to overcome than the physical. Players can be fully recovered, but the thought of making the wrong move and experiencing the injury again can stick in the back of someone’s mind.
Mental strength has always been a major quality for both Sherman and Bryant, so it makes sense that the two would bond over this.