HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — With so much focus on Dwight Howard‘s back and whether or not he would be ready for the start of the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season, few people worried about Kobe Bryant.
But with the opening night contest against the Dallas Mavericks just days away, it’s Bryant who could be in danger of missing the game with injury. Both of the Lakers’ stars sat out Wednesday night’s preseason loss to the Clippers and Bryant could, according to Lakers coach Mike Brown (via ESPNLosAngeles.com), be held out of the game against the Mavericks with a strained right foot:
“I don’t know if he’ll be ready,” Brown said after the Lakers 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. “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.”
Bryant sat out of Wednesday’s game and has already been ruled out of Thursday’s exhibition finale in San Diego against the Sacramento Kings. According to a team spokesman, he spent most of Wednesday’s game getting treatment on his foot in the training room, and did not come out to the Lakers bench during the game.
… Bryant’s injury means that the Lakers’ new-look starting five with him, Howard, Steve Nash,Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace will have played just one game together in the preseason before the regular season opens at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 30. Jodie Meeks started in Bryant’s place on Wednesday.
“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.”
That clearly excludes the preseason. The loss to the Clippers dropped the Lakers to 0-7, the worst preseason start in franchise history. Of course, none of the wins or losses accumulated before the start of regular season mean anything for a team with designs on competing for a championship.
But the one game played together for the Lakers’ projected starting five is not a whole lot of time to work out whatever kinks there might be. Now they’ll have to get that done at some point during the first month or so of the real season.