Mike Brown Says Kobe Bryant Might Play In Opener On Christmas Day

Things haven’t exactly been breaking Mike Brown’s way over the last few weeks. As he’s been working towards making his debut in relief of Hall of Fame Coach Phil Jackson, on a Los Angeles sideline he’ll share with Jack Nicholson, he’s seen Chris Paul almost join his team, then join the other LA team, followed by Lamar leaving town for nothing, and Kobe Bryant injuring his wrist. He’s also had that whole Metta World Peace thing to deal with too.  

But fear not for Brown, or Laker Nation, because things may be looking up. Or at least maybe Brown’s looking up and praying hoping they will.  

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, left, talks with Lakers' Kobe Bryant, right, against Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 19, 2010. The Clippers won 114-95.

Following the Lakers final preseason game, Brown indicated there was a possibility Kobe could still play on Christmas Day. This according to The Orange County Register on Thursday:

Bryant sat out the Lakers’ exhibition finale against the Clippers to rest his right wrist, diagnosed with a torn lunotriquetral ligament from a fall with 7:21 left in the third quarter of the exhibition opener Monday night.

Brown said there’s a “chance” Bryant will play Sunday — but also said there’s a “chance” Bryant will practice Thursday.

The load on Bryant would be heavy right away, assuming he doesn’t sit out. The Lakers have three games in three days to start the regular season (vs. Bulls, at Sacramento, vs. Utah), their only three-in-three set all season, and Andrew Bynum is suspended by the NBA for the first five games.

Brown said Bryant — before being diagnosed via MRI exam with the ligament tear — told him he was “good to go” for practice Tuesday and then proceeded to make his first two shots … left-handed. They were both runners in traffic.

Bryant joined the Lakers’ bench midway through the first quarter Wednesday night, wearing a wrap to immobilize his right wrist. He was confident enough in the wrist and the wrap to do his high-fives right-handed instead of left-handed. Through the Lakers’ public-relations department, Bryant declined to speak to reporters before the game.

If Bryant had spoken to reporters, maybe reporters wouldn’t have been left to analyze which hand Kobe was issuing his high-fives with in order to seek out some indication of what these odds are on this “chance of Bryant playing” Brown is referring too. As the article indicated however, Kobe didn’t want to talk about it just yet.

If Bryant doesn’t play on Christmas, the Lakers starting five is almost laughable, especially in Laker Terms. Jason Kapono will most likely then start at SG, Derek Fisher is penciled in as the starter over Steve Blake at the PG spot, and the front line appears to be looking like Devin Ebanks and Josh McRoberts in addition to Pau Gasol. Matt Barnes could still start over Ebanks, but that doesn’t make things any better really. Mike Brown has also made the decision to bring Metta World Peace in off the bench in all likelihood, and Metta hasn’t been responding too well to that thus far on the floor either. He is a combined 1 for 14 in the two preseason games in his new role of providing firepower off the bench.

What’s also funny is that the Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, are featuring a roster that has three Point Guards (Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, and Mo Williams) who would all start for the Lakers over Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. The Clippers will also bring a guy in with Randy Foye, off their bench, who would also start over Jason Kapono at SG too on Sunday if he was on LA’s other team. So hopefully for Mike Brown’s sake Kobe can go on Sunday. Things might get ugly for the ex-Cavaliers Coach right out the gate if he can’t.

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.