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Kobe Bryant says he'll play Sunday against Portland despite numerous injuries

60245324Kobe Bryant wore frustrated looks and painful expressions. He provided terse answers. And he spent an hour in the trainer's room after the Lakers' 106-98 victory Friday over the Minnesota Timberwolves for treatment of assorted aches and pains, including injuries to his left ankle, neck and jaw.

If the body language didn't reveal how angry he was, Bryant's words surely did. Toward the end of a two-minute interview with reporters, he laid out in explicit terms that he's upset.

"Don't worry about it," Bryant said when asked what's bothering him the most. "I'll be ready to go on Sunday, period."

That's when the Lakers play the Portland Trail Blazers (39-29), who could be a possible first-round playoff opponent. The Lakers (49-20) currently own a one-game lead over Dallas (48-21) for second place in the West while the Trail Blazers are tied for sixth with New Orleans (40-30). Bryant hopes he'll need only a day to relieve all the anger and pain sustained during the Lakers' win over Minnesota.

There are plenty of items. He shot six for 17 while playing with a sprained left ankle, a performance Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said was "not respectable." Jackson said Bryant's timing was off, while Bryant conceded he was "a little stiff" but that "it feels all right." And he missed the first 5:32 of the second half, with Jackson joking that "Kobe was detained" and Bryant saying he needed extra time to stretch his sprained ankle.

Then there was his neck. Bryant got hit in the head accidentally while challenging Martell Webster's shot with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, causing Bryant to lie on the court in pain.

"It was in the jaw," said Bryant, who added the Lakers' training staff hasn't indicated whether he'll need further treatment or tests. "My jaw is fine. I didn't take a hit. My neck snapped back. It's pretty stiff right now."

That was  evident when Bryant barely moved during his postgame interview. Outside the locker room, Bryant maintained a friendly demeanor while posing for a photo with a fan. But he had trouble moving his head there, too. Jackson has largely been deferential to Bryant this season over how often he practices as he treats his surgically repaired right knee. Jackson also let Bryant decide whether he'd play in the Lakers' games against Orlando and Minnesota this week after spraining his left ankle Saturday against Dallas. But Jackson suggested he might change his approach moving forward.

"We'll talk about it tomorrow," Jackson said. "I'm sure he's going to say no. But we'll definitely talk about it and see how he's doing and if there's anything that's bothering him about [Friday night's] game."

There were plenty of things to bother Bryant, but he made it clear they wouldn't affect his playing status.

"I'll be ready for sure," said Bryant, who has shot only 40.4%  through seven games in March. "I promise you that. I'm more than ready."

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, tries to get around Minnesota forward Kevin Love during the first half of the Lakers' 106-98 victory Friday at Staples Center. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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The Timberwolves are a classic example of why a high quality point guard is a waste of talent in the Triangle offense. Their 2009 first round draft pick, Jonny Flynn, is now a bench player despite Kurt's attempts to alter some of the Triangle set plays to accommodate a dominant slashing-type point guard. Their other first round draft pick, Ricky Rubio, will probably also feel miserable playing in Kurt's Triangle.

On the other hand, non-All-Star caliber point guards like Fisher, Paxson, Kerr and Harper had great success playing in the Triangle. In fact, none of PJ's eleven championship teams ever featured an All-Star caliber point guard.

Uh..Before the knee injury, Ron Harper was one of the league's best guards.

Their other first round draft pick, Ricky Rubio, will probably also feel miserable playing in Kurt's Triangle.
Posted by: The Snake | March 19, 2011 at 01:57 AM

We'll prove it next season.

Kevin Love working with Ricky since they met in Madrid in August, during the warmup to Mundobasket Turkey.

"I'm still writing with Ricky. Not very often, once or twice a month. I always say I hope it comes sooner rather than later so we can make this start. Oh, yes, Ricky has NBA game and confianza.Sus long arms and helps him defend. Toca many balls. The sooner you come, the quicker it will adapt and will be better. We have given so much hype. means a lot to the fans. It makes the game more exciting. He wants to come here and I will play for us", said Love.

excuse me for my English

You know what?...I often watch the laker games,and think ..... How darn lucky are we laker fans.. No really .. Kobe shot 6 of 17... Bynum was ejected.. Pau had 5 boards ..... We won...please lets enjoy this era because this once in a generation team won't play forever...I don't think laker fans are over the top or rude or whatever GQ thinks we are... You are or your not...through thick and thin,beginning to end... It's a sweet era...don't care who got ejected tonight... Wining is good... Wining is contagious .....unless your name is Cristina bosh and you wear your wives minolo shoes after shoot around in south beach. Waaaaaaahhhaaaa... Ohhhhhh Cristina .....

Ok no more beer..... I swear no more....

Cristina bosh can't shoot after games on opposition teams courts because his minolo shoes will damage the court....The has zero chemistry ....but amazing tears ... It must be hard going to bed at night wanting be a laker...

People want to know who the Priest is. I'm about to tell you. As i knelt on one knee before a feeble old man he gently tapped me on both shoulders with a 30 pound sword. I was in the himalayas where the air is so thin that oxygen is a premium. I had spent years honing my body and my mind under grueling conditions. The old man instructed me to rise and I did. He asked me if I was ready and I replied yes master. He then instructed me to take this stone out of his hand. Thousands of times i have tried and failed. So with the speed of lightening I lashed my hand towards his palm only to see it close. I closed my hand as well. He smugly then asked me to open my hand and it was empty. He cackled and with a condescending tone told me i was still not ready. But I mumbled, "Master can you open your hand". He did and was shocked to see that it was also empty. I then smiled to reveal that the stone was between my clenched teeth. He beamed proudly and said that now i was ready to bring my superior intellect and education to sports blogs. He told me that i will bring criticism and cause persons blood to boil but they will love me for it. He further told me that i was well versed in religious knowledge, 3 languages, accounting, economics, finance, psychology, biology, project management, physics and chemistry go and bring it. I whispered with a steely resolve, "Master, i will show them something they have never seen before". So off I went to foxsports, espn, the boston globe, nyt blogs and reigned blow after blow against persons who were silly enough to challenge me. Some of my earlier victims included cle23, the sports guy, road rage etc. Then do you know what happened people who were inspired by me started requesting my email. Now here I am.

He should not have played the game. That he is angry at something or someone shows how delusional he is. What was the point in playing that game? What was he trying to prove? That his team mates can't win without him? He looks like an insecure co-worker. Someone who thinks the world will stop if they call in sick to work. I hope he gets better, but he surely is not going to get better if he keeps playing with this kind of injury. He knew he was hurt, but he still took 17 shots. And everybody is afraid to tell him to shut it.

It was good for the beast to lay some wood after being intentionally frozen out by his teammates. How can a man who shoots over 50% gets only 8 shots but the professional brick layer gets 17 shots? On sunday the brick layer probably will take 24 shots hitting about 7 of those. Kobe, I need a new wall made entirely out of bricks. My yard is 150' by 200'. Can you help a brother out.

It is about time for Phil Jackson, the team's COACH, to shut Kobe down for at least a couple of games, for the good of the team since playoffs season is looming. The Lakers did fairly well last season w/o Kobe, they even beat the Blazers, in Portland no less, without Kobe.

Yall know the story of the three little pigs and the wolf? For those of you didn't benefit from a classical education like the priest i will tell you. There was this big bad timberwolf who wanted to catch these 3 little pigs you know to make some egg bacon and grits for him and the boys. The pigs were in a panic and went scurrying in opposite directions. The timberwolf came across the first little pig who had built his house out of straw. The timberwolf bellowed little little pig let me in. The pig replied not by the hair of my my chinny chin chin. So the timberwolf huff and puff and blew the house down. The pig went running to his brother's house before the timberwolf could catch him. His house was made out of wood and of course the timberwolf came and blew this house down as well. The two pigs said forget about the third pig lets go to kobe's house, it's made entirely out of bricks. Off they went to kobe's house for safety. The wolf came and said kobe kobe let me in. Kobe replied not by the hair of my chinny chin chin and don't bother blowing buddy i built this house out of all the bricks i have been shooting lately. As the timberwolf went away dejected, kobe turned to the two little pigs and said you know what i think i will make this house a two storey. The two pigs cried kobe where will you find all those bricks from Mr. Bryant? Kobe replied I have a game sunday against the blazers and I know will shoot 7 for 24.

frmt- Dude...It's a TIRED and LAME QUOTE, maybe you should try ANOTHER. Just Sayin...

"I'm always hopeful," Buss said. "Even when we didn't make the playoffs, I thought we'd win the championship."

Posted by: frmkt | March 19, 2011 at 02:30 AM

People want to know who the Priest is.

No, really we don't. We have enough enough 13 year old egotistical trolls on this board.

Please go back to all the other boards you claim to troll at.

I know you like to spread your opinions around the same way a cow fertilizes a field, but your facts have been wrong.

I understand Rick F's aversion to the board because of people like you, gmoney,83-79,eric wright, red

It takes a very immature and petty person be a troll. If they want to bag on a team, go to your own team's blog and have at it. You will find a lot of support.

But trolls are the kids who weren't picked for sports, always ran to their mommies for help and hid behind her skirt. Now the internet allows them to hide behind their keyboard and act like a man. And it is an act.

LA Lakers 2009-2010 Back-to-Back NBA Champions

Posted by: island priest | March 19, 2011 at 07:03 AM

Dude...You're spot on regarding the BALL HOG, when was the last time he shot 50% or even close to 50%? Dude is a WRECK out there. His team and coach's are AFRAID of him, tell him to SIT THE F--K down, enough of the BRICKS.

island priest- Dude...What are you SMOKING early in the morning?

Now the internet allows them to hide behind their keyboard and act like a man. And it is an act.
LA Lakers 2009-2010 Back-to-Back NBA Champions
Posted by: HBMatt | March 19, 2011 at 07:29 AM

Dude...You're a PRIME example.

The Best part:

The LO end game. Takin' a 3 early in the clock with 24 wide eyed? Nice. Yeah, it's Sunday in March and the TImberwolves, but that and the baseline J crunch time in a game it was unthinkable to lose, nice.

The end of season Fish / Blake step up. Next to Andrew, the most encouraging. That position is a well publicized blog rant waiting to happen. Nice to see it rounding into form at the right time.

Bad part: zebras... no consistency = injuries / insanity.

island priest, I'm surprised that among all the magnificent things your Master taught you, he didn't teach you how to spell. It's "lightning," not "lightening." Bummer.

Kobe's angry cause he knows what it takes to three peat and his body isn't ready.

Every game another body part goes down while the refs swallow their whistle.

Meanwhile Andrew's raised the tough quotient of the Purple and Gold. Isn't worth a suspension, but ya gotta like the pre playoff statement.

You can't rough up the Lakers and win. You can't out finesse 'em and win,
You can't win.

Kobe is a great player and all great players push on through injuries. Michael Jordan did and Shaq has as well.

island preist: Come on now. Really? Are you serious with that nonsense? I know it's the age of the internet and everyone is splashing around in shallow waters looking for their fifteen minutes of fame, but really. I see what you're trying to do there and it's not gonna work. You've combined the internet, sports blogging and some weird 'V for Vendetta' type publius persona in a sad attempt to garner attention. Since you are so infatuated with the possibilities of contemporary culture, let me interject a piece of it at this opportune moment: Epic Fail.

Kobe knows well he should not play when not 100 per cent physically able. He hurts the team when he plays hurt. Look at his play against Minnestoa last nite. Awful with all the turn overs and bad shots. He really looked bad. The rookie from Minn burned him bad and was too fast and too good for Kobe to ebven attempt to guard. all lakers fans a favor and site this one out. Look at the game film and see just how bad you look when you are not 100 per cent ready to play.

Kobe struggled mightily yesterday. It obvious his ankle is hindering him. I know many are calling for him to chill for a few games. I still defer to Kobe and Phil. Kobe knows his body and will shut it down if necessary, but if he doesn't Phil will. Remember Kobe's injuries were much worst last year. Yet gutted it out despite all the pleas to have surgery. We know how that turned out.

I love Drew protecting the paint and appreciate hard fouls. But yesterday’s foul crossed the line and could cost him a game or two. I didn’t like it when Mahorn, Laimbeer or Kenyon Martin committed those type of fouls and I don’t like it when a Laker does it either. Fortunately Beasley wasn’t seriously injured and hopefully he won’t miss any games.

Blake’s game is on the uptick. In the last 3 games he’s hit 5 of 8 3pointers, with 10 assist and just 1 turnover.

If the Lakers were carrying, say, 18 losses instead of 20, I think Phil might have held Kobe out last night and likely tomorrow too. But if the NBA is all about matchups, these playoffs will be all about seeding. As it stands, LA would draw the Hornets in Round 1 and Dallas in Round 2 with HCA in each. They'd potentially avoid OKC altogether and draw San Antonio in the conference finals. Meanwhile, the Spurs would draw OKC in Round 2.

Oh, and LA's one game behind BOS record-wise. HCA made a huge difference in last year's Finals, and with Boston -- the only team that has beaten LA 4 of 7 in the last 4 seasons -- still the favorite to get out of the East, these games count.

Anybody remember Grant Hill ankle injury, he wanted to keep playing that game making it worse for his and career. Kobe ankle is not good and it can get worse. This team should win without him now they need him for the playoffs.

Excuses, excuses, and more excuses. Kobe struggled, period. Not because of hi ankle, jaw, fingers or anything. The guy should leave basketball and the Lakers. He makes these games painful to watch.

He was torched by Wesley yesterday.

Here's the deal on Kobe. Contrary to the trolls' dissing, Kobe's still got it...but not every game any more, and not when he's hobbled with knee and ankle injuries. We're going to need him rested and reasonably healthy leg-wise to make it through this title run, HCA or no HCA. So Phil needs to step in and make the decision that Kobe just doesn't want to make...he needs to sit for at least a week. Do it, Phil. #17 is riding on this decision.

Good to see things are back on track. If I remember correctly..we faced this same problem last year, Kobe nursing a few injuries, and PJ was forced to sit for a couple games. It took a while for PJ to convince Kobe he needed to rest a couple games, in order to be fresh for the playoffs..Things turned out great last year...

Kobe seriously needs to rest. CornerJ hit it right on the doornail. Kobe still has it but not as consistently and that consistency is going to further deteriorate the more he plays. I know the record is tight right now but at the same time I think the L is capable of winning right now without him. We need a refreshed Kobe Bean Bryant for the playoffs to win it all.

I think Kobe should sit a few games. We can win a few without him. We need a healthy Kobe in the playoffs. PJ, it is up to you. He won’t sit himself. I think we should focus on long-term gain over short-term glory. We can take Portland at home. The other guys will step up.

I loved and hated Bynum’s foul. I hated that it was brutal and someone could have been hurt. I hated the fact that he could be suspended. I loved the fact that it was very old school. They were talking trash. If someone wants to talk trash, hang on the rim and kick people in the face, and come crashing into Bynum land, they could get hurt. Every player in the league will have to think twice before attempting something like that. Players talk a lot of crap – saying we are soft… They will have to change their tune. Drew, Matt, Ron, Lamar, Fish and Kobe are as tough as they come. The other team, after the game, didn’t say it was dirty. They said it was a hard “playoff type” foul.

My favorite moment was Kobe on the floor. The Lakers are all watching their leader on the ground. They get pissed. He gets up. He gets pissed - game freakin’ over!!!

Earlier in the season, this is a game we would have lost. We are playing with fire now. You can’t stop us. Even on a bad night, we get the win. I enjoyed every second of it because…

I am a Lakerholic.

It's the priesthood that always perverts the spirit. We don't need no middleman.

Phil is not going to bench him. Kobe will rest in games. He needs to get in basketball shape. Gotta get that jumper down. Been listing to the left of late.

Health is important and Kobe has already said HCA isn't. Why does he keep forcing himself to limp through these games?

Pride. He takes it as weakness if he sits out and thinks (rightly so on this point) that the more games he sits out, the more his opponent won't fear him and/or will consider him as a veteran on his way out as opposed to a banged up player that on any given night can kill you. Of course, ESPN can't wait until Kobe retires so they can annoint ol' crybaby in Miami as the heir apparent. So all of this is running through his head. So, for better or worse, he suits up because a) he doesn't know any other way of doing things so repsect and b)no one gets a mental edge on Kobe. Nobody.

Terry, Kobe does have fingers that are arthritic and surgery is not an option--won't do any good, will just make matters worse. The cartilage is gone in his knee making the knee arthritic, so can you honestly say that those health issues have nothing to do with his decline? I don't doubt that age is a factor, "Father Time" has a way of disciplining "his" children for sure, but NBA players don't retire because they "need to retire" or because they're suddenly no good, the biggest reasons that they retire are because (2) they have no more heart for the game (#1)The body has 'played out' due to wear and tear and/or injuries.



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