Kobe says he’ll be back “well before the playoffs”

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Kobe Bryant missed his fifth straight game Sunday due to a shin injury, but told this to ABC sideline reporter Heather Cox (via the Orange County Register):

“I’ll definitely be back well before the playoffs.”

Um, how would you define “well before?” The Lakers have just five games remaining before the playoffs begin. Four of them are this week (and include two games against San Antonio and one Sunday against the Thunder).

The Lakers have gone 4-1 with Kobe on the bench and have played good defense while feeding their big men on offense. Ramon Sessions has found his groove. All that can help the Lakers if Kobe is integrated into it, but if his return disrupts that flow the Lakers will not last past the second round of the playoffs.