Only two preseason games remain for the Los Angeles Lakers with the start of the regular season set to get underway next week. Superstar Kobe Bryant has appeared in five of the six games played by the Lakers thus far with a lower leg contusion keeping out the team’s last game against the Golden State Warriors.
With the Lakers coaching staff focused on keeping Bryant as healthy as possible throughout his 20th and potential last season with the team, Kobe will likely miss the rest of the preseason. Head coach Byron Scott is in no rush to get Bryant back on the floor and admits there’s a chance his preseason is probably over, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“There’s a chance, but I’m not going to put a percentage on it,” Scott said after practice on Sunday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “There’s a chance.”
Coach Scott doesn’t want the 37-year-old Bryant to risk further injury during meaningless preseason games. Although the leg injury already has fans concerned and the media speculating about Kobe’s status for the season opener on Oct. 28, Scott made it clear Bryant will be ready to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves next week with no chance of him missing the game due to his injury, via Medina:
“Nah,” Scott said. “None whatsoever.”
With the final roster still in the works and Bryant needing to focus on staying healthy, it makes no sense to rush him back to play games that just don’t matter for veterans of his caliber. Kobe showed he’s in shape and ready to go during the games he has played making Coach Scott’s decision an easy one moving forward.
The Lakers will face the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Staples Center and will play their preseason finale on Thursday night at the Honda Center against the Warriors.