Kobe Bryant out six weeks
Just when it looked like Kobe Bryant was starting to show flashes of his old self after his comeback from an Achilles injury, calamity: The Lakers legend has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee that will sideline him for at least six weeks. The Lakers are in a tough spot -- they're 12-13 and would have faced a tough road to the playoffs even with Kobe at full strength. Now they face an interesting decision: Do they go all-in this season and try to tread water until Kobe comes back, or do they bet on him still being an elite player come next season?
NFL Week 16 -- Saints at Panthers
In all likelihood, the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints will both taste postseason football. But what a difference positioning will make. Case in point: The Saints hammered the Panthers 30-13 two weeks ago. ... But that was in New Orleans, where the home team is 7-0. Outside of the Superdome? N.O. is just 3-4. Can the visitors reverse the trend this week? Or will Cam Newton's crew get a leg up on a first-round bye?
Pa Gasol has been a key part of the Lakers for years, and it looks like he'll remain with the team for the immediate future. The Lakers have reportedly decided not to trade him, at least for the moment, as they're happy with his play in recent games. Gasol is averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, with a 21-point performance on Tuesday night. This could all be just a smokescreen, however -- the Lakers are 12-13 and might need to make a significant move if they want to stay competitive in the brutally tough Western Conference.
Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
The NFL playoffs tend to be incredibly exciting, with top teams not remotely guaranteed an easy road to the Super Bowl. That's not going to stop Roger Goodell from considering tweaks to the format -- he's talked about adding two teams to the playoffs around the 2015 season. This would obviously be good for teams like last year's Bears, who missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record, but there's an obvious concern that it could let in weaker teams. That's not always a bad thing -- considering the level of parity in the NFL, you might get a number of games like the 7-9 Seahawks' upset of the Saints in the 2010 season -- but is it too much of a risk?