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Kobe Bryant sits out of Monday's practice

January 10, 2011 |  3:14 pm

After the Lakers huddled together to conclude practice, Kobe Bryant broke away from the scrum wearing a black T-Shirt featuring the Eagles' logo and the word "HEART" as well as sweatpants. It served as visual reminder that he's returning to his normal routine in sitting out of practice in favor of resting his surgically repaired right knee and working on individual strength work.

Bryant had spent the past week-and-a-half practicing with the team, as well as select days before and after the Lakers' Christmas Day loss to Miami. Bryant, who recently told The New York Post's Peter Vecsey that he has "very little cartilage under my right knee cap" and that "it’s almost bone on bone." insisted to reporters not to read his absence from practice as an indication that his knee has worsened

"It feels good," Bryant said after practice Monday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. I'm not going to answer questions about my knee every damn day. I said what I had to say. My knee feels fine. The key is to make it stay fine."

With the Lakers (27-11) winning four consecutive games entering Tuesday night's contest at Staples Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-29), Lakers Coach Phil Jackson argued Bryant's return to staying off the practice court came at an appropriate time.

"It's not an issue," Jackson said regarding Bryant's decision to sit out of practice. "He has to work with what sustains the effort he can put on the court. He's tried to balance that off with strength straining and conditioning and not do too much activity on the court that are wearing and tearing activity. He got out for a week and a half to practice. It's time for him to come back and do the strength thing."

--Mark Medina

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