Phil Jackson doesn't see Bryant playing 'heavy-minute games' at start of season
Kobe Bryant's minutes will be monitored closely at the start of the regular season, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Wednesday, another sign that Bryant still hasn't fully recovered from off-season knee surgery.
Bryant is shooting a woeful 27.3% and averaging 11 points in six exhibition games. He had surgery last July.
"I don’t anticipate he’s going to be playing heavy-minutes games to start the season," Jackson said without specifying how many minutes he might play. "We’ll have to find a pattern out there so he has the greatest influence in the amount of minutes he can" play.
Bryant probably will not play Thursday against Golden State but will probably play in the Lakers' exhibition-season finale Friday against the Warriors, Jackson said. The regular season begins Tuesday against Houston.
Jackson didn't seem worried by Bryant's lack of outside touch (18-for-66 shooting) in exhibition play.
“I’m not that concerned about his shot as I am just about having an overall ability to play with the kind of energy he wants to play with," he said. "His shot will come as soon as that happens. He’s the best caretaker I’ve ever seen of his own personal physique."
Sasha Vujacic might return to game action Thursday after sustaining a concussion last week, and Luke Walton might also play after sitting out the last two weeks because of a strained hamstring.