EL SEGUNDO, CA -- What would a Laker season be without some Kobe Bryant drama at some point?
This year it came a bit earlier than the team and its fans expected.
Content with his newly rebuilt team of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, Bryant seemed very happy throughout the preseason, averaging 20.4 points, 4.8 rebound and 3.4 assists in just 28 minutes per game. While the rest of the team was struggling to learn the Princeton offense, Kobe didn't look at all like it was the third different system he was being asked to play in three seasons.
Then came the right foot injury he suffered when he tripped over Sacramento's Thomas Robinson, causing Bryant to go silent and sending the Lakers' world gyrating right off its axis.
Bryant hasn't played, practiced or talked to the media since the injury, and Kobe Watch 2012 is now in full effect, with the regular season opener taking place at Staples Center Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs will...