(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves fighting for the third seed in the Western Conference, but they have been without the services of star guard Kobe Bryant, who’s battling a shin issue. Bryant hasn’t played since April 6 for precautionary reasons, but Bryant says he’ll be ready for the playoffs.
“I’ll definitely be back well before the playoffs,” Bryant told ABC sideline reporter Heather Cox.
Since there are only five games left in the regular season, Bryant must think he can return to the court sooner than later. He has been seen in a walking boot in order to support the injured shin.
This upcoming week will go a long way in determining where the Lakers are seeded in the playoffs this year. They will face the Spurs twice as well as the Thunder — two teams that are above the Lakers in the standings. Heading into Monday’s games, the Lakers hold the third playoff spot in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers just 1 1/2 games behind them.
Bryant leads the NBA in scoring this season with 28.1 points per game.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN