Poll question: Should Kobe Bryant sit out against San Antonio?
As The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported today, Kobe Bryant remains a game-time decision for tonight's contest against San Antonio after having an MRI today on his sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, center Andrew Bynum told Brez he "would not play tonight" after missing the second half Saturday against Portland because of a bruise to his right hip.
As for Bryant, every week there seems to be another poll regarding whether he should rest so he can heal his various injuries.
Blame it on my lack of creativity (fair point), but it's clear that Bryant's ongoing injuries and performance with those bumps and bruises continue to add new wrinkles to the debate.
First, fans wondered whether Bryant should sit out because his shooting percentage dropped during much of January after he aggravated his fractured right index finger. As Bryant continued tinkering with his splint and played more of a distributing role, I thought concern over whether Bryant could play hurt was moot (he clearly could). It seemed more important to debate whether his role should be adjusted because of limitations from his fractured index finger. That debate blew wide open when forward Pau Gasol said Bryant's record-breaking performance against Memphis came at the expense of the inside game.
Then, when Bryant aggravated a sprained left ankle Wednesday against Charlotte, fans wondered if that five-point performance on two-of-12 shooting would finally persuade him to forgo the possibility of a third consecutive 82-game season. He seemed to answer the question Friday with 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting against Denver. But then the following night he sat out against Portland, the pain in his ankle too much to bear.
With the Lakers coming off their first win at Portland in the last 10 games, the debate continues over whether Bryant should rest until his injuries are fully healed. I agree with ESPN 710's John Ireland take that though the Lakers managed to play rather well against Portland without Bryant, that doesn't automatically mean the Lakers can afford to lose Bryant for a significant amount of time. It's one thing to have a collective effort to fill a star's void for one game. It's quite another to duplicate it game after game.
But in the grand scheme of things, Bryant possibly missing Monday night's game and maybe even Wednesday at Utah are really just two games on an 82-game schedule, even if they are against playoff-caliber opponents and could bear tie-breaking implications for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
That leads us to the poll question:
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant scored all 16 of his points in the first half of Jan. 12's contest in San Antonio, but he injured his back in the first quarter and left the game for good in the third. The Lakers lost to the Spurs that night, 105-85. Credit: Brendan Maloney / US Presswire.