Now, the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping the injury doesn’t keep their star away from a playoff push for long.
Bryant spent Thursday getting several hours of treatment on what he called the worst sprained ankle of his 17 NBA seasons, hoping to be healthy for Friday’s game at Indiana.
Although the Lakers offered no update on his condition after saying Bryant was out “indefinitely,” the NBA acknowledged Jones should have been called for a foul on the play that left Bryant crumpled on the court in Atlanta.
Bryant tweeted about it Thursday, including a hashtag: “cleanupthegame.”
The NBA later said video replay confirmed Bryant was fouled.
“After review at the league office, video replay confirmed that referees missed a foul call on Jones as he challenged Bryant’s shot and did not give him the opportunity to land cleanly back on the floor,” said the statement on the NBA’s web site. “Bryant should have been granted two free throws.”
Bryant tweeted that his ankle was “still very swollen. Treatment all day.” The Lakers had the day off Thursday in Indianapolis, the final stop on their three-game road trip. As some Lakers players meandered in and out of the team hotel, Bryant was not seen.
Bryant’s shot would have tied the game if he made it, which means the no-call played a role in costing the Lakers a valuable victory in their playoff push. With 17 wins in 23 games before their loss to Atlanta, the Lakers (34-32) are a half-game ahead of Utah (33-32) for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The team and Bryant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While some Los Angeles players, including Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, walked around Indy, trainer Gary Vitti was scheduled to treat Bryant in the afternoon and again in the evening. Team spokesman John Black said the Lakers wouldn’t have an update on his condition until Friday, although Bryant tweeted a photo of his swollen ankle.
Los Angeles faces the Central Division-leading Pacers on Friday before returning home to host Sacramento on Sunday.