Kobe Bryant: Should Phil Jackson Rest His Ankle or Let Him Play?

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is listed as day-to-day after twisting his ankle in the third quarter of a road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Conventional wisdom says that Lakers coach Phil Jackson should take the time to rest Bryant for the postseason, which is a little more than a month away. But can the Lakers afford to be without the services of Bryant for that long?

The Lakers win over Dallas pulled them within one-half game from the Mavericks for the West's second seed, and they begin a seven-game home stand tonight against the Orlando Magic.

The prospects of catching the West-leading San Antonio Spurs are slim, but how badly do the Lakers want home-court advantage in a potential second-round matchup against those same Dallas Mavericks?

The Lakers have proved they can win on the road, with victories over both the Spurs and Mavericks in the last two weeks. The experience of players like Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher means the team could probably hold onto the No. 3 seed without Bryant.

Center Andrew Bynum is finally completely healthy and since the All-Star break, Bynum has been gradually showing the promise that makes him such a significant member of the Lakers rotation.

Bynum's scoring and rebounding numbers have picked up and with the recent return of Matt Barnes, the Lakers may be healthier now than they have been at any other point of the season, excluding Bryant's injury of course.

So, just how bad is Bryant's ankle in the first place?

Bryant did return in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks' game and although his shot was a little off, he didn't appear to show any ill effects from his injury.

The fact that the Lakers were able to escape with a five-point win against Dallas, despite only 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting from Bryant, may send the message loud and clear that Jackson's best option is to sit Bryant at least for a...

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