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Mike Brown downplays Kobe Bryant's wrist injections

January 6, 2012 |  7:21 pm

Even though Kobe Bryant receives pregame injections in his right wrist, Lakers Coach Mike Brown downplayed any suggestion that the painkilling injections illustrate the severity of Bryant's injury, a torn ligament.

"I believe in our training staff and I believe in our doctors," Brown said before the Lakers-Warriors game Friday at Staples Center. "They're telling me everything is all right with it. There's not anything to worry about. There's no minute limitations or anything like that. As long as those guys tell me that and Kobe feels ready to go, then I'm ready for him to go."

Unsurprisingly, Bryant is suiting up for Friday's game against Golden State. Yet despite Brown's efforts to downplay it, Bryant's pregame routine at least shows his wrist injury won't go away anytime soon. The procedure, as reported by the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding and ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, is undertaken before every game to numb the pain and allow Bryant to perform normal tasks, such as ball handling and shooting.

Bryant sat out the Lakers' exhibition finale after a block by the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan caused him to land awkwardly on his wrist two days earlier. He's played all seven of the Lakers' regular-season games and ranks third in the NBA in scoring at 26.4 points per game. But he went through a two-game stretch last week against Denver in which he shot a combined 12 for 46 from the field. After that stretch, Bryant admitted the wrist felt like a "pain in the ..."

"He might not say it, but try to hold a microphone with a torn ligament, let alone shoot it and make sure you get a follow-through," Brown a day later. "That’s a bear."

Bryant then switched to wearing tape around his wrist, saying the athletic sleeve he'd been using felt too cumbersome. Although he's averaged 33.5 points on 50.9% shooting in the last two games, his season average of 4.25 turnovers is alarming. Bryant has also particularly struggled shooting from three-point range, going seven of 37 (18.9%) thus far.

Still, Brown says he won't adjust Bryant's minutes, 35.1 per game so far. 

"For me to try to throw my two cents in an area where I don't know anything about wouldn't make any sense. This is their profession," Brown said of the Lakers' medical staff. "I have to trust they're doing their job the right way and trust that Kobe is telling us the truth. If that's the case, then it is what it is and we'll keep moving forward until I get told differently." 


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--Mark Medina

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