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The Los Angeles Lakers have been nothing short of a Hollywood drama this season. The Lakers entered the season with high expectations and a starting lineup that had a former All-Star at every position.
However, the Lakers were terrible out of the gate. Head coach Mike Brown was fired after just five games and a 1-4 overall record.
Mike D'Antoni was hired in a controversial decision that left fans scratching their heads when former coach Phil Jackson showed interest in coming out of retirement. Dwight Howard's relationship with Kobe Bryant has been magnified, analyzed and scrutinized all season and team chemistry has been questioned.
But the biggest problem for Los Angeles has been injuries. The injury bug has plagued the Lakers all season.
Steve Nash was injured in the Lakers' season opener and didn't return until late-December. Backup forward Jordan Hill is believed to be out for the remainder of the season, although Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com reported on Sunday that he may be back sooner.
Pau Gasol has missed a major part of the season, and although he is scheduled to return soon, the exact date is unknown. Dwight Howard has played through injuries all season and some less-than-stellar play at times has been apparent. However, Howard looks to finally be closer to 100 percent and has played like the Howard of old as of late.
But the biggest injury may have come last week as Los Angeles finally looked to be back at full strength. Kobe Bryant, who has had one of his best individual seasons of his Hall of Fame career, suffered an injury to his left ankle in the Lakers' loss to Atlanta.
Never one to miss playing time, Kobe has played through injuries and put off surgery for the majority of his career. The problem is: How healthy will The Black Mamba be by the postseason?
The Lakers have won six of their last seven and finally look like the team many expected entering the 2011-12 season. With a healthy Kobe, Dwight Howard and the rest of their starting lineup, the Lakers may be much better than their No. 8 seed suggests.