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Injured Lakers March On

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With all the nonsense going on at Heritage Hall, it has been very easy to overlook the Lakers. After all it’s the middle of the NBA season that really doesn’t get heated up until March. Hell just win at a steady clip and no one in LA will notice.

While trying to digest the Lane Kiffin news last night I decided to take some time to watch the Lakers play in San Antonio last night, and it was pretty alarming. Not the 105-85 final score, although it was disappointing since the Lakers made a game of it early in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers have suddenly turned into a travelling MASH unit.

Kobe Bryant: on top of his index finger, he has back spasms so bad he couldn’t even walk.

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Pau Gasol: still out with a bad hamstring.

Ron Artest: sprained his index finger in last night’s game.

Sasha Vujacic: sprained right hamstring in last night’s game.

Adam Morrison: was supposed to play in last night’s game but came down with “flu-like symptoms”. As a result Luke Walton got his first playing time since being sidelined with his own injuries.

Three starters, a key bench player and a scrub all questionable in the second game of a back-to-back in Dallas. It’s not looking to good right now.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio last week Kobe said the key in repeating as NBA champs is to keep the injuries down. While it’s not looking too hot for the reigning champs right now, it’s probably best for these injuries to happen now. Get them out of the way so as they head in to the playoffs in March they can be playing their best basketball as they make a push towards to the playoffs.

With Gasol most likely to sit out tonight’s game, it would be best if the Lakers rest the others tonight. Even as recalcitrant as Kobe can be in his insistence to play, Phil Jackson needs to pull a Mike Leach and lock Kobe in a dark closet. Unless you’re on the bubble in making the playoffs, games in January don’t matter.

Keep them out and see what the bench can do when pressed to contribute more. The worst that can happen is Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell showing they can’t handle the pressure leading to several Lakers losses. At best, they can show they can handle the spotlight giving Jackson even more weapons to use come playoff time.

Diehard Lakers fans will probably be dismayed by all of this, but once the Lakers have a parade down Figueroa for the second straight year all of this strife will be forgotten.

But in order for the Lakers to repeat they need Kobe, Gasol and Artest to be going at all cylinders come playoff time. To sacrifice that on some relatively meaningless games in January is just plain silly.