Update: Kobe Bryant will sit out the Lakers game Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, the second consecutive game is has not dressed for the Lakers. The MRI confirmed it is just a sprain, no tears or other serious damage. Phil Jackson said, however, that this will have no bearing on whether or not he plays in the All-Star Game in Dallas this weekend.
“I think if he feels like he can play, he’s going to play,” said
Jackson. “He’s not going to sit out just because that might extend the
duration (for) which he doesn’t have to play.”
From 2/7: Kobe sat out a game.
He did it (or didn’t do it, as it were) Saturday night in Portland. That in and of itself is big news, as Kobe pretty much comes off as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s just a flesh wound.”).
But that could be just the start — he may take off a couple more games and the All Star Game.
Phil Jackson said it would be up to Kobe when he plays again but he would let him take off all the time he needs. That’s subtle Phil, he knows from dealing with other highly competitive superstars that telling them what to do isn’t the way you get things done, you need to convince them it is their idea. The fact the Lakers won without Kobe in their own house of horrors — the Portland Rose Garden — may convince him the team can live without him for a few games. And the parties in Dallas will go on with or without him (although Kobe hates to disappoint fans and not play in these types of exhibitions).
Other teammates also don’t know what Kobe is going to do.
Fish said Kobe might play Monday but “he may decide just to push it to the (All-Star) break and really get himself back.”
For a veteran team like the Lakers, what matters is the games in April (and beyond), not a February Monday night game against the Spurs. This team knows what it takes to climb the mountain, and regular season games don’t affect their confidence. What matters in Los Angeles is a healthy Kobe in the playoffs (and the run up to it), and despite his warrior mentality a week off to heal his body may be good for him and the team. Probably would be.
But does he want it? That is another question entirely.