Originally written March 15, 2013 on In The Neutral Zone:
                No one can question Kobe Bryant’s dedication to winning or at the very least showing up. Further hammering that in, earlier today, less than 48 hours removed from severely spraining his left ankle in a game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers changed his status from “out indefinitely” to “game-time decision” — meaning Kobe could possibly play tonight at the Indiana Pacers. If that’s not crazy enough, look at this picture of Kobe’s ankle his wife Vanessa sent out on instagram after the game in Atlanta:   Before we let our hearts explode with joy at the thought of the Black Mamba’s return tonight, let’s ask the ugly question: should Kobe return tonight? My answer: hell no! Kobe should not return tonight. Firstly, the Lakers probably won’t win this game even with Kobe’s miraculous return. The Lakers simply aren’t very good on the road, sporting a losing 12-21 record when they visit opponents. The Pacers, on the other hand, ARE very good at home and have a winning record of 26-7 at home. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the Lakers do not want to risk Kobe Bryant injuring himself further by playing tonight before he’s fully recovered. It would be devastating for the Lakers if Kobe missed more time than absolutely necessary. If Kobe does more damage to his ankle in a return tonight, there’s a strong possibility his recovery time will expand beyond the next few games and into the eleventh hour of the Lakers’ playoff push. Finally, with Kobe sitting and recovering, tonight is a great chance for Nash and Howard to control the Lakers’ offense and take responsibility for winning or losing. Of course, it will be a tall order to beat the Pacers at home, but Dwight Howard have shown more activity lately and the Lakers are coming off of an off day. Now that you know my position on whether or not Kobe will play tonight, totally disregard it because there’s no keeping Bryant down. I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up tonight, plays, and surprises us all.
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