Los Angeles Lakers: Early-Season Injuries That Will Hurt LA’s Title Hopes

After restocking their lineup this past offseason, the L.A. Lakers could be expected to make a run at their most recent NBA Championship since 2010.

However, with injuries to staple players like future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and the newly-acquired, veteran center, Dwight Howard, it would appear that any preseason prognostications are in flux for the moment. 

While Howard is still rehabbing from a herniated disc that kept him out of last season’s playoffs with Orlando, the Los Angeles Times reported last week that Kobe Bryant is suffering from a left foot injury. 

This is just the latest in a series of injuries for Kobe, including a left shoulder injury that kept him out of preseason play earlier this week against Portland.

The book on Bryant, 34, is becoming extensive, which is not good news for a Lakers team that looks to rebound from a five-game series loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals last season. 

Bryant managed 1,616 points in just 58 games during the 2011-12 season, yet still led the Lakers in points and assists; not good when you consider that the Lakers were still just 15th in the league in points per game last season. Although not enough to keep the Lakers from postseason play, should Kobe have to miss a significant amount of time in 2012, the drop off in point totals is likely to be exponential.

Enter the former Orlando Magic center.

Assuming the Lakers’ big-name acquisition stays healthy, we could see a different kind of Lakers basketball that becomes much more of a possession game, particularly Howard’s 14.5 rebounds per game in 2011. The problem, however, is that the impact of Howard’s season-ending back injury last season seems much more severe than once thought.

“What a lot of people don't know,” Howard told the L.A. Times on Thursday, “is when I hur...

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