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Los Angeles Lakers keeping a close eye on health of starting five

The Lakers are primed to make a deep playoff run, but the team and its trainers will be keeping a watchful eye on the health of their players.

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Between Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, the Lakers boast one of the better starting five in the NBA, and it is also one of the older.

Gasol is 32, World Peace is 32, Bryant is 34 and Nash is 38. Howard is the youngest of the group at 26 but is also coming off of offseason back surgery. Collectively the Lakers starting five's average age is 32.4 years.

But as the L.A. Times reported on Tuesday, the one thing that the Lakers are playing very careful with is their team's health.

"Injuries are always the big thing," Bryant said. "Those who are big-time Laker fans, that '89 season and the great team that they had and a couple injuries changed the dynamics of the Finals."

In 1989, the Lakers were rolling to a title with an 11-0 record in the playoffs, but Bryon Scott and Magic Johnson injured themselves in the finals and the Pistons recorded a four-game sweep.

With this in mind and the fragility of some of their players, the Lakers have been extra careful throughout practice. Bryant sat out a couple practices on Oct. 5 with a sore foot. The Lakers precautions aren't limited to the starting lineup either, as they have been cautious in bringing back Jordan Hill and Earl Clark from injuries.

"Most injuries come when you're fatigued," said Howard, who had missed only seven games in his eight-year career before being diagnosed with a herniated disk last March. "So the biggest thing is to make sure you're in good shape."

Bryant missed eight games last year due to injury.