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Time To Give It A Rest?

- Shohei T.

The question is brought up time and time again: Should Kobe keep playing or should he rest and let his injuries heal?

To put it into perspective, Kobe has had a sprained left ankle, back spasms, and a fracture to his index finger of his shooting hand; not to mention the torn ligament in his pinky finger, also on his shooting hand. The main focus, though, has been his fractured index finger.

For most players in the league, that’s an automatic trip to surgery and rehabilitation, but Kobe’s not like most players. He’s put off surgery multiple times and has carried the Lakers to two NBA Finals appearances and an Olympic gold medal to boot. He’s a workhorse and feels it’s in his right to keep playing.

But as the injuries keep piling up and an NBA championship to defend, Kobe’s health is more important to the Lakers than ever before.

In my opinion and in many other Lakers fans’ I’m sure, Kobe should rest his body, rehab that finger of his and be ready to go come playoff time.

With the team he has around him, why shouldn’t he?

The Lakers are stacked across the board in terms of offense, defense and coaching. In Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum you have two big men who can give you points and rebounds night in and night out. The bench, though very erratic at times during the season, can hold its own with Lamar Odom leading the way. And in Ron Artest, you have a guy who will buckle down on defense and, on a good night, give you 15, 20 points.

The only question marks remain is the spotty play of Bynum Andrew Bynum. Bynum has put up decent numbers, but he hasn’t shown the ability to bring the intensity every game. More troubling is Bynum’s inability to be effective when he and Gasol are on the floor at the same time.

If the Lakers can improve on their consistency, they shouldn’t miss a beat with Kobe out of the line-up.

Worst case scenario: The Lakers don’t get the first seed in the Western Conference and lose out on home-court advantage. But with a rested and healthy Kobe Bryant, it shouldn’t matter. Just having a healthy Kobe playing is like having home-court advantage.

But will the rest come? Highly unlikely, although we saw signs after Kobe voluntarily sat out for the game against Portland, a game which the Lakers won, snapping a 9-game losing streak at Portland.

With that said, the Lakers’ run to the championship will go as far as Kobe’s broken finger can take them.


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