Kobe Bryant did not take part in the Lakers shootaround on Wednesday before facing the Timberwolves on Wednesday night because he is still going through the steps to be cleared to play in that game.
Steps he is close to clearing — the team says he has been symptom free since Tuesday afternoon and he may be given the green light to play Wednesday night. If he does, he’ll play in a mask to protect his broken nose, according to the Lakers.
The injury — a nose and concussion — came on a hard foul from Dwyane Wade in Sunday’s All-Star Game. Wade said has since apologized to Kobe, saying there was no intent to injure.
Kobe can play through the broken nose, but the concussion diagnosis changed the game and took matters out of the Lakers’ hands. The league’s new concussion policy this year says Kobe (or any player with a concussion) has to be symptom free for 24 hours before the game, pass a computer reaction test (measured against a baseline he took before the season) as well as some physical tests where the symptoms cannot return.
Here are the tweets from the Lakers.com official reporter Mike Trudell:
Kobe is “doing great” says LAL spokesman John Black. He’s been symptom free since last afternoon…. Kobe has passed all of the tests mandated thus far (neurological, bicycle, Axon and treadmill)…. Bottom line is that if Kobe passes the 2-on-2 hoops test now, & another w/neurologist pregame, he may well be able to play.
This will almost be a game time decision, but not one made by the Lakers and Kobe, rather one made by the league’s neurologist.