DALLAS, TX - MARCH 12: Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after an injury during play against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on March 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The biggest star in Sunday's NBA showdown will likely be on the sidelines for the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown came out today with the word that Kobe Bryant was unlikely to play Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. While it's not what the fans want to see, it's definitely a piece of good news for a Mavs team contending with several other franchises for the last few playoffs slots from the Western Conference.
The Lakers official Twitter feed noted Brown's comments and that Kobe was not active on Saturday's practice:
Mike Brown on Kobe Bryant: "He most likely won't play tomorrow." Kobe did not participate in this afternoon's shootaround.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 14, 2012
Unfortunately for the Lakers, this might be the case for some time, which puts their own playoff positioning at risk. Currently the team is 38-22, good for third in the West. At the very least, the team could lose home court advantage if they suffer a drought with Kobe. That's what it looks like, according to Janis Carr of the OC Register:
Per trainer Gary Vitti: Kobe walks pain free, but hasn't starting running. Not close to jumping on sore shin. Unsure # of games he'll miss.— janis carr (@janiscarr) April 14, 2012
Bryant is averaging over 28 points per game this season with 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists.