INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Kobe Bryant will warm up Friday night before the Lakers make any decision about playing their injured star.
Bryant has undergone round-the-clock treatment since severely spraining his left ankle in Wednesday night’s loss at Atlanta. He landed on the foot of Dahntay Jones in the closing seconds of the game.
“He’s better, a lot better, so he’s got a chance we’ll see,” D'Antoni said. “He is 34 years old and has played 17 years in the NBA, so he has to know whether he can play or not. He’ll know, he’ll know.”
Bryant did not speak to reporters after the morning shootaround or before the game.
Instead, he’s spent the past two days being treated for what he called the worst sprained ankle of his career.
Initially, the Lakers feared the worst for Bryant and said he would be out indefinitely after he stayed on the floor and writhed in pain.
He later complained that a foul should have been called, and NBA officials agreed with that assessment. They issued a statement Thursday that said the referees missed the call, something D'Antoni said he agreed with after watching the replays.
Bryant’s list of accomplishments is extraordinary: five NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one league MVP. He has played in the second most All-Star games (15) in league history and is No. 5 on the career scoring list.
But the most impressive part of the 34-year-old’s resume might be his durability. He hasn’t missed a game since the 2009-10 season and has missed only 148 games of a possible 1,227 during 17 NBA seasons.
So it’s no wonder the Lakers were delaying the decision. The only hint Bryant may not play came when D'Antoni responded to a question about who would replace Bryant in the lineup. D'Antoni said that job would go to Jodie Meeks.
Even the Pacers don’t expect that to happen.