A nagging foot injury could keep Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant from joining his new teammates when they take the court for the season opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, according to a report from Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.
Said Lakers head coach Mike Brown:
I don't know if he'll be ready. 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.
The report also says that Bryant's injury, "is classified as a strain, and the team is officially saying he is out indefinitely."
At this point in the season, there isn't a lot to worry about. The Lakers have built a team with enough talent around Bryant this year that they could get away with him not being on the floor and still be in good shape.
In fact, it's not out of the question that they would look just as good without Bryant. Steve Nash is a player who can make everyone else around him better because of his ability to either pull up and shoot or get teammates involved.
The concern surrounds possible lingering effects of Bryant's injury, as well as the age of the team. In an 82-game season, stamina is the most important asset a team can have.
The Lakers are built around the 34-year-old Bryant, the 38-year-old Nash, the 25-year-old Dwight Howard (who is coming off major back surgery) and two 32-year-olds in Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace.
This team is going to have to pick spots to rest all four of those players throughout the season just to have them healthy come playoff time.
Of course, if injuries like Bryant's keep popping up, the team loses its ability to choose which games players will sit out.
For now, though, the Lakers and their fans should not panic just because Bryant might not be around for one game at the start of the season.