Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and their injuries
A couple of interesting injury related points that came up in the pre-game media session with Phil Jackson:
Kobe Bryant's ability and willingness to play through pain stacks up against- if not just plain smokes- any athlete I can recall. But even recognizing that tendency, Phil thought Kobe's strained groin might have led to a few games in street clothes, given how he limped off the court in the final minutes of Sunday's loss to Houston. But one good Monday practice and a hefty dose of "suck it up" later, and Kobe's getting right back on the horse.
Phil was asked if Pau Gasol's potential availability on Thursday might prompt Kobe to take Thursday off and utilize three days to let his groin mend up before Sunday's contest against the Thunder. "He would never do that," said Phil. I then asked if he was ever tempted to just overrule Kobe and tell him to sit out for the sake of the bigger picture. Nope. Phil trusts Kobe's judgment, and more importantly, respects what 24 considers a badge of honor.
"I think an 82 game season has just as much a meaning for him and Derek (Fisher) as a scoring championship. That's something that they really relish. That they're gonna go out every night and compete every night. That's something we really want our players to do."
"You mean he's a hypochondriac and might be a baby and not come out and play? Is that what you're trying to say with that question?"
"No, but it's definitely what you're trying to say," I responded.
On a roll, Phil opined that Pau actually "got injured on CSI and he's not telling the truth. I actually watched that program just to see if that's what happened. When he dragged that kid out of the car, I'm sure that's where he got his injury."
Quips later flew about not stretching before the scene ("You know those sets are, you just stand around, stand around.") and not using a stunt double in the episode's car crash. Plus, some advice.
"I told him to keep his night job, what the heck."
This was also the first time he'd ever seen the Miami based serial, so never let it be said that Phil won't rearrange his schedule for an All-Star.