Kobe Bryant Injury: Why Los Angeles Lakers Star's Wrist Spells Doom Early

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2011

Kobe Bryant has a torn ligament in his wrist, and in the wake of what's going on in the Lakers' preseason, this could spell doom for the Los Angeles Lakers

It's not the injury in isolation that is cause for concern, it's what it offers in the grand scheme of things. 

Going back to last year, the Lakers were swept in the Finals. In doing so, they also lose Andrew Bynum, who committed a dirty foul on Jose Barea in the losing cause. 

Then, during the offseason the Lakers hired their new head coach Mike Brown without consulting Kobe Bryant.

Then there was the whole falling through of the Chris Paul trade.

Then the Lakers traded away one of their top players, Lamar Odom, for nothing. 

While all of this is going on, Kobe Bryant is undergoing a huge personal crisis in his life with his wife wanting a divorce. 

On top of all of that, Shannon Brown, Bryant's backup for the last several years, left in free agency. 

So let's assess where that leaves the Lakers for the first five games.

Bynum will be out.

Bryant will be either out or playing injured, and if he struggled to shoot well with an injury to his shooting finger, he'll struggle more with an injury to his shooting wrist. 

Unlike last year, they won't be able to slide over Pau Gasol to center and have Lamar Odom play power forward.

They'll have to start Josh McRoberts at power forward instead. 

Then they'll have the Chicago Bulls coming in to start the season and the Bulls are already in midseason form. There's a very strong chance the Lakers can lose that game. 

The next night the Lakers have to go up to Sacramento and play the Kings. Normally that would be an easy win, but the Kings are better and the Lakers won't we at full strength. They'll be thin because of the injuries and they'll be coming off a back-to-back.

The Lakers could lose that game. 

Then, the next night, the Lakers come back home and play their third game in three nights against the Utah Jazz. Again, typically in a game against the Jazz, you would expect the Lakers to win, however, with a thin core, this team could easily fall to 0-3.

Then the Lakers get a whole night off before they play the Knicks the following night. Still, they will be without the services of at least Bynum, and with Bryant's injury, if he's playing, it's not getting any better. 

If they lose to the Knicks, they could be staring at an 0-4 start.

Two nights later they face a good Denver Nuggets team; another game they could lose. 

A happy Lakers team at full strength would be looking at a minimum of a 3-2 start and a realistic possibility of 5-0.

However, this team is neither happy nor healthy.

They have five games in the first seven nights.

They lost both their preseason games.

They could be missing their two best players for the first five games.

They don't have the depth they used to. 

If the Lakers get off to a horrible start, the potential exists for a full-on implosion.

Bryant's injury was the worst possible news for the Lakers at this point in the offseason.

They could be looking at the worst start for the team in years.