The Los Angeles Lakers have confirmed that Kobe Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee and will be out of action for six weeks.

The injury is the latest setback for the Lakers guard, who had only returned to the court early in December, after nearly eight months away because of a torn Achilles tendon.

The team said Bryant had hyperextended the knee in Tuesday's (17 December) game at Memphis.

Bryant, who was playing just his sixth game back, matched his season high with 21 points.

He went to the floor with 3:25 left in the third quarter and stayed there before standing up, bending 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.

'Felt all right'

He managed to hit a deep three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help clinch the win and finished playing more than 32 minutes but said after the game that he kind of twisted his knee but it felt all right.

Los Angeles had signed the fourth-leading scoring 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.

Xavier Henry will be the Lakers' starting point guard for the time being.

While Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake are out with long-term injuries, guard Jordan Farmar will be re-evaluated Tuesday (24 December) in his return from a torn hamstring, with the Lakers hoping he'll be back before January.

Source: AP