Kobe Bryant looked Kobe Bryant in the opener — early on he was getting touches at the rim and was moving well, later in the game he drained a rainbow contested long two he never should have taken. He looked a little slower trying to defend O.J.Mayo off the ball as the game wore on, but he wasn’t the Lakers problem in their loss.
And while it is possible his foot responds poorly to a night of exertion, I’d expect to see him playing Wednesday night when the Lakers take on the Trail Blazers in Portland.
He had his foot soaking in ice after the game, reports Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Daily News. Is he concerned he couldn’t go in the back-to-back?
“A little bit,” Bryant said. “We’ll have to see how it feels.”
Granted, Bryant said his foot felt “80-85%”. Even if Bryant’s known to play through injuries, the Lakers’ star vowed beforehand not to take the floor if the pain would worsen. Bryant sounded well aware that he didn’t want to squander all of his offseason work in strengthening his body just for the sake of appearing in the Lakers’ season opener.
“I’m not going to play with an injury that will get progressively worse and limp through the season,” Bryant said. “I worked too hard for that.”
Kobe said he would play in the opener so long as he learned he couldn’t make the injury worse, and that’s the case according to the Orange County Register.
“From my understanding, there’s no risk,” (Lakers coach Mike) Brown said before the game. “Obviously if it bothers him or something like that, we pull him out. But from my understanding, he’s good enough to go and there’s no risk in going that he would damage it further.”
It just a matter of pain management, Kobe will play. Actually, Kobe will probably play either way. This is Kobe after an ugly loss we are talking about.