Kobe Bryant futher injured himself last night in a 99-97 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats. He has flared up an ankle sprain he suffered the previous week against the 76ers in a collision with Elton Brand. In the 2nd quarter of last nights game Lamar Odom landed on it making it worse prompting Kobe to go to the locker room before half time to get treatment. My question is, why not sit out the entire game to rest? Or two or three?
The answer is simple, Kobe just doesn't trust his team to win without him. Even though he witnessed them win last night agains a hot Charlotte team while he was basically non-existant. (He shot 2 for 12 and had 5 points.) Easily his worst game of the year. Phil Jackson made a smart decision and took him out in the fourth quarter, but was it too late?
Kobe has a fractured finger, bad back and now a sprained ankle yet he continues to try and play.
He is scared of giving up ground for the number 1 seed in the West. Now he won't come out and admit this, but what other reason could you have? The gap isn't that small, Denver trails by 4.5 games, Dallas 6.5 and Utah 7. So a few losses certainly wouldn't put them out of position to maintain their number 1 seed but it could tighten it up just a bit. Both Bryant and Jackson know Denver can give them fits. We know they don't have the frontcourt to compete in another 7 game series with the Lakers but without Kobe, that's an entirely different story. Perfect example, Denver held Bryant scoreless in the second half of their only meeting this year, the result, Denver blew them out 106-78.
What I would like to ask Phil Jackson is why risk the health of the best player on this side of the Mississippi for playoff positioning. Last time I checked the number 1 seed doesn't always get you where you want to be, especially if your star player is playing at 50% because he (or his coach) was too stubborn to be smart about it.
Carmelo Anthony has missed 11 games this year for the Nuggets with a sprained ankle and a knee contusion. The result: Denver is 7-4, beating the Spurs on the road and the Cavaliers at home. Side note, they did not lose their spot in the standings. In fact, they passed Dallas for the number 2 seed.
The memo of the story is, quit being hot-headed, rest your injuries so you can recover or find yourself at home in June disappointed that you weren't smart about a simple ankle sprain or broken finger.