Why Kobe Bryant’s Foot Injury Won’t Derail L.A. Lakers Early-Season Adjustments

Good(ish) news for the Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he's "85 percent" sure he'll play in the team's 2012-13 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. He's been out of commission since the second of the Lakers' three preseason losses to the Sacramento Kings, during which he injured his foot while tripping over rookie Thomas Robinson.

Whether Kobe winds up siding with the 85 percent once he arrives at Staples Center or opts for the 15 percent (and accompanying street clothes), the Lakers' outlook in the early going remains largely the same—positive, with plenty of potential hiccups.

Historically speaking, the Lakers are 4-0 in season openers sans Kobe since he leapt into the league in 1996. That mark will more than likely move to 5-0 on Tuesday if Bryant can't go. The visiting Mavs were already in a spot of trouble after missing out on Deron Williams and Dwight Howard and retooling with stopgaps all over their roster this summer.

Even more so now that Dirk Nowitzki (knee surgery) and Chris Kaman (calf strain) will be sidelined from the get-go. Without those two, Dallas will slot Eddy Curry and Elton Brand into the starting lineup, which, as Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports noted, is a pairing more than a decade in the making:

11 years later, Bulls fans finally get to see if Jerry Krause was right about Elton Brand and Eddy Curry not fitting together.

— Kelly Dwyer (@KDonhoops) October 29, 2012  

The pair is also close to a half-decade too late to be at all effective against Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Chances are, the Lakers would've had the requisite horses to overcome the Mavs without Kobe before and should be even more aplomb about their odds now that Big D's German giants won't be available.

But the favorability of LA's schedule, with or without Kobe, extends beyond just the opener...

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