Lakers News: Latest on Kobe Bryant’s Health and Roster Cuts

Kobe Bryant sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' 104-102 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday with a bruised lower left leg. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Bryant is scheduled to run on Tuesday and could play in the preseason finale on Thursday.

“He wants to play,” Byron Scott said, via Medina. “But we’ll see how he feels Thursday. If he’s 100 percent, we’ll go from there. If he doesn’t, we’ll wait until next Wednesday.”

Next Wednesday is the Lakers' season opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It sounds like the 37-year-old should be ready to go when the games start to count. Nervous Lakers fans might hope Scott takes the cautious route and sits Bryant for a final meaningless preseason game. Sure Bryant wants to play, but would you expect anything less from the famously determined athlete?

Bryant is likely to undergo as much scrutiny as ever in his purported final season. Many wonder about his impact on the team as they prepare for a future without him in a young core that includes Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.'s Matt Moore passed along data from SportsLine that suggests the Lakers would have a 4.5 percent better chance of making the postseason if Bryant does not play this season. While he listed some obvious caveats to that projection, he also reminded fans to look at the big picture and what an aging, shoot-first, miss-often Bryant does to the team (emphasis in original):

The big picture: This data is not something you should throw away, in that if Bryant does not play better than he has the past two seasons, he will make the Lakers worse. It's important to note Bryant is healthier (though already he's dealing with a leg contusion), that the Lakers are better, and that Bryant's role has changed. Both things can be true without discarding criticism or i...

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