Travis Heath of Hoopsworld.com wrote:With NBA training camp just a couple of weeks away, HOOPSWORLD takes a look at six burning questions out West heading into the 2008-09 campaign.
1. Will Kobe Bryant's decision to avoid having surgery on his right pinkie finger come back to bite the Los Angeles Lakers?
Last week Kobe Bryant opted not to have surgery to repair tendon damage to the right finger of his shooting hand because the recovery time would have caused him to miss the start of the season. On one hand, Bryant's drive and toughness absolutely has to be applauded. On the other hand, there has to be some concern from folks in the Lakers' organization the move may come back to bite Bryant and the Lakers in the backside as the season progresses.
Obviously, the Lakers have virtually no chance to be competitive in the West without Bryant. With him, they're a championship contender. Without him, they likely wouldn't qualify for the postseason.
If Bryant were to at some point do more damage to the finger and miss a couple of months, that could very well be enough to knock the Lakers completely out of the postseason given just how tough the Western Conference will be again this season. However, when one considers Bryant played the final couple of months of last season, the entire playoffs and the Olympics with the injury, it doesn't seem to be something that will prevent him from playing at an MVP level. Perhaps he might be able to put-off surgery until next summer -- if he ever has surgery at all. That said, if at some point things reach a level where Bryant has to have surgery mid-season, the Lakers season will likely be a lost cause.
If anyone is tough enough to persevere through the injury it's Bryant, but since the guy is human, he only has so much control over what medical complications might arise in the future. For the good of Bryant and the league, let's hope he stays healthy. His decision was a gutsy one, but also one that came with a certain amount of risk and uncertainty that will likely persist throughout the season.
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