Kobe Bryant looks set for another spell on the sidelines, with the Los Angeles Lakers having confirmed that their star guard is expected to miss a further six weeks of the season with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.
Such news comes as a shattering blow to Kobe himself first and foremost, with the 35-year-old having only recently returned from a torn achilles tendon suffered in a game against Californian rivals the Golden State warriors back in April.
It is also likely to devastate the Lakers, with head coach Mike D'Antoni already left reeling by the number of injuries affecting his already slim frontcourt rotation.
With veteran point guard Steve Nash likely to miss a further month with a troublesome back problem, Jordan Farmar is currently nursing a hamstring injury and Steve Blake will also miss up to six weeks with a torn elbow ligament.
Such an extensive list of notable absentees leaves Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry as two of the only fit guards on the Lakers' current roster, with that particular duo proving the only realistic pairing for D'Antoni moving forward into the festive period.
The Lakers, who currently lie 11th in the Western Conference, are 12-13 on the season following their 96-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday evening.
Since Bryant's return they had gone 2-4, but the 15-time All-Star appeared to be showing encouraging sings of progression after such a lengthy layoff after dropping 21 points during the win in Tennessee.
D'Antoni's men will have to pick themselves up quickly with a home tie against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center to come on Friday evening.
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