Kobe Bryant’s foot injury is either a lot worse than previously reported, or the Los Angeles Lakers are choosing to be extremely cautious with a non-serious injury. Neither option bodes particularly well for a team that has gone 0-7 in the preseason and desperately needs its starting five to share some time on the court together.
The Lakers’ latest preseason failure came in a six point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. These exhibition games are irrelevant and not particularly indicative of a team’s regular season success – we all know this. That said, it’s a bit surprising when a team can’t even win one game. Mind you, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol played last night. That alone is better than what most NBA teams trot out on a nightly basis.
Putting aside how strange the Lakers’ inability to notch a single preseason victory is, though, the far more troubling news to come out of Wednesday night was Mike Brown saying that Kobe could miss the team’s regular season opener.
"I don't know if he'll be ready," Brown said to ESPN. "So yeah, I guess there is question. I'm just going to wait for [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti to tell me he can play because there's nothing I can do about it until they release him anyway."
This is going to be a long season so, if there was ever a good time to sit out with a minor injury, the first few games would be it. But it’s really worrisome that Kobe, a guy who prides himself on playing through pain, is being forced to miss time. It’s not the way this team wanted to start their year, that's for sure.
Brown acknowledged on Wednesday night that his squad, particularly the starting five, does need time to gel a bit more.
"Obviously it would have been great if they would have had more on-court time against a different-colored jersey," Brown said. "But, again, I'm a long-term guy and not a short-term guy, so, they'll be ready when it counts."
Here’s to hoping he’s right.