Los Angeles Lakers News: Phil Jackson Prepared To Start Season Minus Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's knee is still not fully healed, and with the regular season two weeks away, coach Phil Jackson is contemplating holding Bryant out of the season opener, and possibly beyond.

Bryant recently said his knee was about 60 percent healed, and rather than risk further injury, Jackson is tinkering with different lineups as the regular season quickly approaches.

How much will the Lakers suffer if Bryant is forced to miss significant time while recovering from offseason knee surgery?

I guess it really depends on your perspective.

Los Angeles proved last season that they are talented enough to win without Bryant in the lineup, but this situation is a little different since center Andrew Bynum is not expected to return from his own injury until December.

It's possible the Lakers could lose ground in the Western Conference if Bryant is forced to miss a month or more, but is home court advantage really that important to Phil Jackson?

Most people would agree that the level of intensity goes up for the Lakers once the postseason begins, and the team's experience and chemistry make home court less of a necessity.

The Lakers should also benefit from the addition of veterans Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, but it's still hard to ignore the huge hit the offense will suffer in Bryant's absence.

And it's not just scoring either.

The Lakers' offense usually begins and ends with Bryant, and although Pau Gasol is an elite player himself, he benefits immensely from the extra attention usually thrown in Bryant's direction.

Unless Blake or Shannon Brown proves they can effectively score from the perimeter, opponents may choose to focus their defense on the Lakers' interior players.

This could make the going harder for Gasol and forward Lamar Odom, who are expected to be the Lakers' primary offensive weapo...

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