Kobe Bryant not expected to play; Bynum to get injection; Odom will play
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was not expected to play in Wednesday night's game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena here in Salt Lake City, Coach Phil Jackson said after the team's shoot-around earlier in the day.
Perhaps even more disturbing is that Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who also won't play against the Jazz, said he would get a cortisone injection in his bruised right hip sometime next week, probably Monday after the All-Star break.
If Bryant doesn't play against the Jazz and he doesn't play in Sunday's All-Star game at Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, he would have had 10 days to rest his ankle. Bryant also would have missed the last three consecutive games.
On a side note, if Bryant doesn't play against Utah, he won't be obligated by the NBA to play in the All-Star game. However, Lakers guard Shannon Brown said Tuesday that Bryant would pass him the ball when he participates in the dunk contest Saturday night of the All-Star weekend.
When Bryant does play in his next game, it will be the 1,000th regular-season game of his 14-year NBA career.
It's looking more and more as if that will come when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Bryant said after Monday night's game that his decision to play Wednesday night would be a game-time decision.
"It's not looking very good," Jackson said. "He didn't go out for the shoot-around. I haven't talked to him yet this morning. We're not expecting him to go."
Lamar Odom, who missed Tuesday's practice with a sore right foot, worked out during the shoot-around and will play Wednesday night.
Bynum, on the other hand, missed the second half of the Portland game Saturday night and will miss his second straight game with the hip injury. If he plays Tuesday night, Bynum will have had nine days for his hip to get healthy.
Bynum was told that an injection might not feel too good.
"It might, though," Bynun said, "if it takes the pain away."
The Jazz has won nine consecutive games, 13 of the last 14. The Jazz has won 10 straight at home and have a 22-6 record here.
The Lakers lost to Utah here the last time they played, and that was with Bryant and Bynum in the lineup.
So the Lakers know how difficult it will be to win here.
They have won their last two games without Bryant and Bynum and would like to go into the All-Star break on a mini-winning streak.
"We have to do the things that we've done well," Jackson said. "That's transition defense, get some offensive boards and hold them in so they can't run and make them have to make everything in that closet that they play in down there around the lane. And we have to keep Deron Williams from breaking us down as a team."
When Derek Fisher plays Wednesday night, it will be his 1,000th career regular-season game over 14 seasons.
-- Broderick Turner in Salt Lake City
Photo: Kobe Bryant. Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images