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Kobe's broken knee, Lakers continue messy season

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This afternoon the news came from the Los Angeles Lakers PR department about Kobe Bryant fracturing a bone in his left knee, and being out of the lineup for about six weeks.

"Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who hyperextended his left knee in Tuesday night’s game at Memphis, had an MRI exam this morning and was examined by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Results of the MRI show that Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee. He is expected to be out approximately six weeks."

Kobe played on the knee after the fracture for more than a full quarter of basketball, in the team's win against the Memphis Grizzlies and as he typically does, scoffed at it being anything significant. His post-game media comments were to brush it off and say, "I'm fine."

UPDATE: Moments ago, late Thursday afternoon, Kobe Bryant tweeted this: "#BrokenNotBeaten". The Mamba has spoken.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN spoke with Kobe today and he's not down, nor predicting doom for his career or the team. Not that anyone thinks he'd ever admit that.

Dave McMenamin of calls it a "bad setback", but it could be worse he says. There is no structural damage to the knee. Yet, Steve Nash suffered a similar fracture 16 months ago and has battled nerve issues since then.

Now the Lakers, who had just been getting in the groove of welcoming their superstar back to the lineup with a rocky first few games, are back to square one.

Actually they are not even up to square one, because the last true point guard, Steve Blake hurt his hamstring and left the lineup last week, leaving Kobe to pick up duty at the point when he was on the floor.

Blake joined the team's other backup point guard Jordan Farmar on the injured list. Never mind the starting point guard, Steve Nash who can't remember when he was last on the court playing for the Lakers.

So what do the Lakers do?

They might just be on the hunt for a point guard for a short-term fix until Farmar returns, which if all goes well will be after Christmas. They go back to using 11 guys in the rotation, playing three guard sets of the youngsters whose record was 10-9 without Kobe Bryant.

Xavier Henry, picks up point duty and the run and gun kids go back to what they know to do and do well: play Mike D'Antoni's patented form of aggressive, fast and high scoring basketball.

Some consider asking this question as heresy. Are the Lakers better or worse with Kobe in the lineup? It's been asked over and over since Bryant returned to the court. The team that was 10-9 without him as he healed from the Achilles surgery, was 2-4 after his return.

The team is different with him on the floor at the same time as Pau Gasol.

The offense slows down, and Kobe still looks to head fake on an iso way too much. He struggled with an embarrassing number of turnovers in these last six games and took a while getting his legs back under him to score off a jumper.

But just ask the guys if they would have come back to win at Memphis without him and they would all say, "no".

Just ain't gonna be pretty on Christmas Day against the Heat. Then again, you never know.



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