1/13/2005 09:47:00 PM|||Kurt|||Kobe went down in the first quarter with what is being called a severe ankle sprain, rolling it when he came down with a rebound and Ira Newble was under him, Kobe’s foot landing on Newble’s. X-rays were negative, nothing broken, and the MRI is tomorrow. (I will scour the Web/radio tomorrow and post the results as soon as I hear them.) I would guess Kobe could be out anywhere from a couple of weeks to….. It’s tough to really process the impacts of something like this instantly. My first reaction is that, if the injury is not serious, this could be a good thing for the Laker offense short term. In all sports, when a star goes down other players often step up in the short term. Tonight (the game is just entering the fourth quarter as I type) Odom became more aggressive, Sasha got playing time, there was passing and movement, guys attacked the rim rather than settle for three, all things we wanted to see. If they can keep that up for a couple of weeks and Kobe were to return, the Lakers would be better for it. Where Kobe would be missed most is on defense — he is by far their best defender, and the only good one on the perimeter. Look at the Lakers’ Roland Ratings (a +/- system for how a team does when a player is on or off the court) — the Lakers are only slightly better with him on the court (+2.1 points for each 48 minutes) but are -13.3 with him off. He is their defensive core. If the injury is long term, all bets are off. |||110568167474396937|||No Time To Panic. Yet.