The NBA world will likely have to wait to see the full new-look Los Angeles Lakers as Kobe Bryant is expected to miss Tuesday night’s season opener against Dallas. The Lakers are still solid favorites on Sportsbetonline.com.
Bryant sat out Sunday’s practice, using the time to receive treatment on the strained right foot he hurt a full week ago during the team’s exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings. Bryant remains out indefinitely, according to the team, and his availability for Tuesday has started to be called into question by his teammates.
“I don’t know, I have my doubts,” said Pau Gasol, Bryant’s longest-tenured teammate on the roster. “I hope we (have him in the lineup). …
He hasn’t been able to practice for six days. He’s been off that foot for six days, and it’s no joke. I don’t remember the last time that he took that many days off exercising. He might do stuff in the weight room and might do stuff without putting weight on the foot, but it’s a little bit concerning.”
Bryant was having a solid exhibition season. He was averaging 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists. While Bryant has earned a reputation as a warrior who will play through anything, including a torn ligament in his left wrist to begin last season, it would not be unprecedented if his rehabilitation caused him to miss the season opener. Bryant missed the Lakers’ first two games in 2006-07 while recovering from knee surgery.
Meanwhile, the Mavs won’t have All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. And 11-time All-Star Nowitzki won’t be ready for the start of the regular season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee recently. He could be out for as long as six weeks. Of the 19 players who reported to the Mavs training camp, two —Nowitzki and Shawn Marion — were part of the playoff run that ended with a six-game victory against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Newcomer Elton Brand suddenly figures to play a much more prominent role to start with Nowitzki out and new center Chris Kaman still out with a strained right calf.
Sportsbet trends: Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings. Mavericks are 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings in Los Angeles. Road team is 15-7-1 ATS in the last 23 meetings.