SAN ANTONIO — The Bulls have taken no risks with Derrick Rose and it’s paid off. So should the Lakers take the same approach?
Normally at this time in dealing with an injury, Kobe Bryant would be like a wild animal ready chew off one leg to escape from a steel trap. But sitting out his third straight game due to an inflammation in his left shin, Bryant isn’t getting antsy and bugging Lakers coach Mike Brown to put him back into the lineup and out on the floor.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Brown said. “There is no timetable on him. He’s been good, which is great. I think he understands it’s one of those things where if he goes out too early he can cancel everything that he’s done up to this point. So he’s being more cautious than anything else.”
Rose has sat out 23 games this season, yet the Bulls have still managed to hang onto the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Lakers entered Wednesday night’s game against the Spurs sitting at No. 3 in the West, but were only one game ahead of Memphis in the loss column and in danger of falling as far as No. 5, which would mean not having home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Can these Lakers really think of themselves making a championship run by having to open four straight series on the road?
Everybody knows that the Lakers need a healthy Bryant to have any chance of making a real playoff run. But considering L.A.’s less than inspiring 13-16 road record, how much do they need Kobe to engage in the fight for playoff positioning coming down the stretch?