Lakers may have to move on without Kobe

Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant is out indefinitely after spraining his ankle late in Wednesday's loss to the Hawks.The Lakers road to the playoffs hit an unexpected bump Wednesday in Atlanta when Kobe Bryant severely sprained his left ankle. It happened as Bryant was going up for the potential game-tying shot with time winding down in the fourth quarter.

Bryant is out indefinitely and if he misses Friday's game at Indiana, it would be the third time in the last four seasons that he has missed at least one game in a season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Lakers are 611-350 (.636) with Bryant and 41-32 (.562) without him since 2000.

Bryant has been remarkably durable over the course of his career, especially as he’s gotten older. He’s actually missed fewer games as he’s risen in age.

Kobe Bryant

Career Games Missed

Prior to the 2007-08 season, Bryant missed a number of games with various injuries.

He missed the first 15 games of the 1999-2000 season after breaking his right hand during the Lakers preseason game against the Wizards. The Lakers didn't miss Bryant though going 11-4 without him during their run to their first NBA title under Phil Jackson.

Bryant missed six games in January 2004 after injuring his surgically-repaired shoulder against the Cavaliers. He came back for two games and then missed seven more with a cut in his index finger.

The next season, Bryant missed a month after spraining his ankle against Cleveland in January. The Lakers weren’t able to recover as they missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1993-94 season.

Bryant has more than tripled the scoring of the next closest Laker in crunch time this season and has taken half of the teams shots in those situations. Entering Wednesday, Bryant scored 122 points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter with the score within five. Only Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James had scored more in crunch time.

Bryant’s injury would only add to the number of games missed by the Lakers Big 4 this season. Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard have missed a combined 60 games this season.

The impact

Accuscore runs computer simulations to determine team win-loss probabilities.

Lakers Chance of Winning
Next 3 Games

The Lakers chance of winning each of their next three games can be seen in the chart on the right.

If Bryant only misses three games, it shouldn't have much of an impact on the Lakers' playoff chances. Accuscore gives them a 71 percent chance of making the playoffs if he plays in those games, a 69 percent chance of making it if he misses the next three.