1. Kobe was 5 years older than KD and had significantly more mileage on his body(54,000 career minutes to 36,000 for KD)
2. Kobe didn't only tear his achilles. In his 6th game back after the achilles injury, Kobe broke his tibia which kept him out that entire season too. Also the tibia injury was actually harder to come back from than the achilles as Kobe's body responded negatively to the therapy and a 6-week injury ballooned into an 8 month rehabillitation process. And then 35 games into his comeback after the tibia fracture, he suffered another season ending injury after tearing his rotator cuff. Those were how Kobe's age 34, 35, and 36 seasons ended.
3. Despite Kobe's injury occuring just 6 years ago, the surgical method used to repair Kobe's achilles is now considered antiquated as there have been major advancements in the field in the past 3-4 years.
4. Kobe tore his achilles in April 2013, yet he was back on the court before Christmas that same calendar year. We've seen Terrell Suggs and DeMaryius Thomas return in just over 6 months from an achilles tear and play at the same level they were prior to the injury. Given his younger age and access to more advanced surgical/therapeutic techniques, Durant should be back after the all star break next season.
Another player I've seen referenced has been Demarcus Cousins, but what people fail to realize is that Cousins numbers this year were right in line with his career averages on a per minute basis. His role was certainly reduced after becoming a 4th or 5th option as opposed to being the 1st(or 2nd in NO)throughgout his entire career, but Cousins level of play was pretty much the same as from before.
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Cousins Per 100 Career vs 2018-19
Season Age Tm Lg TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS TS% ORtg DRtg PER WSp48 VORP(@ 82 games and 30 MPG)
Career NBA 16.9 5.1 2.2 1.9 5.5 33.1 .538 103 103 22.4 .117 3.04
2017-18 27 NO NBA 17.0 7.1 2.2 2.1 6.7 33.3 .583 104 102 22.6 .130 4.67
2018-19 28 GSW NBA 15.2 6.6 2.5 2.7 4.4 30.1 .562 109 102 21.4 .151 3.51
His BPM and on/off statistics showed significant drop-offs, but context must be considered. i.e. According to BPM, this year was KD, Klay, Steph and Draymond's worst season since early in their careers, yet all 4 of them are in their prime.