How Long Can Los Angeles Lakers Survive Without a Healthy Kobe Bryant?

The closer we get to the start of the 2013-14 season, the more it seems like a realistic possibility that Kobe Bryant won't be able to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers' season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Ever since he ruptured his Achilles at the end of the last season, Kobe has been aggressively rehabbing, and there seems to be a tacit assumption that the Black Mamba is too inhuman to actually miss time.

But not so fast, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News makes abundantly clear: 

Kobe Bryant continued rehabbing on his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, the latest involving running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti expects Bryant remains a “few weeks away” before advancing to full-weight bearing running, though he added “there’s no projected date” on whether Bryant could play in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

It all fits the Lakers’ conservative approach in ensuring Bryant doesn’t return from an injury he suffered April 12 before it fully heals.

What if Kobe has to miss more time, though? What if he isn't going to watch from the sidelines for just the first game of the season? 

That's a distinct possibility. L.A. has to treat its aging star player with caution. It doesn't make sense to rush back No. 24 for a season that doesn't appear so promising in the first place. 

For the sake of the argument, let's say that Kobe ends up missing a full month.

Could the Lakers survive?


Lakers' Chances During That First Month

If Kobe really does miss the first month of the season—in the interest of specificity, let's pin his potential return on December 1, just to appease those with round-number bias—the Lakers are going to be starting out ...

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