How many more games might Kobe Bryant miss?

Late night reading …

More and more it appears Kobe Bryant will be sidelined for more than just a handful of games because of a left shin injury. He sat out for the fourth consecutive game, watching Friday’s contest against the Denver Nuggets from the Lakers’ bench.

Bryant is likely to miss a few more games, too.

“You’ve got to walk before you can run,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “He is now walking pain free. The next step is for him to run. If he can run pain-free, then the next step would be jumping. If he can do that, he can start playing again.”

Bryant is not ready to try running, according to Black.

“There’s no timetable to put on it,” Black added.

Bryant has tenosynovitis, an inflammation of the tendon sheath near where his shin tendon meets his left foot. He was injured when he was kicked in the shin during the first quarter of the Lakers’ victory March 31 over the New Orleans Hornets.

The Lakers want him recovered from the injury before the playoffs begin later this month. They have six regular-season games remaining, including Sunday afternoon against the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.

“We knew it was going to be a process,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. “We knew it was an injury where we didn’t want to rush him back. We want to make sure we followed the right procedure. So, that’s what we’re doing. He’s making progress.”

Brown couldn’t say whether Bryant might miss the rest of the regular season.

“I don’t know,” Brown said. “I went to (athletic trainer) Gary (Vitti), and asked if he could play (Friday). I said, ‘OK.’ I didn’t ask about Sunday. … I don’t know if we have any other options because another Kobe isn’t going to walk through the door.

“You go with what you have and play the game the best way you can.”

The Lakers’ upcoming schedule is taxing, with home games Sunday against the Mavericks and Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs before they face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in Oakland and the Spurs on Friday in San Antonio.