The Los Angeles Lakers will trot out a very impressive starting five next season. Between Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash you have enough star power to challenge any team in the NBA – including the defending champs. Of course, the odds of beating LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat drop exponentially if the Lakers’ fearsome foursome isn’t complete. And as of right now, two of L.A.’s biggest stars are nursing injuries.
Howard’s back problems are a matter of public record. Kobe’s injury, however, caught everyone by surprise.
On Wednesday night, just before the Lakers were supposed to take the court for a preseason showdown versus the Portland Trail Blazers, word came down that Kobe was going to sit this one out. Why? Apparently he strained his shoulder on a dunk.
It goes without saying that this is something of a big deal. Or at least that's what some of us thought.
"I'm good. I just pinched it a little bit," Bryant said yesterday when asked about his shoulder (via ESPN). "I just need to rest it. I should be fine."
Oh, good. So it’s no big deal, then? It doesn’t even hurt?
"Last night it was very painful," Bryant said. "It hurt to even lay down. But it's a lot better right now."
When asked if he thought he might need surgery – Kobe quickly dismissed the notion.
"I don't need it; it's not that serious," he said.
As of right now Kobe is due to play in Saturday’s preseason game versus the Utah Jazz. You know, sort of the way he was supposed to play last night.