Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard both say they are playing through pain


The Lakers haven’t got time for the pain. Literally. They play the Hornets Wednesday night with their two stars banged up and neither can really take the night off because the Lakers need wins over teams like the Hornets if they want to catch anyone and make the playoffs.

Kobe Bryant suffered a hit on a nerve on his elbow Tuesday night against the Thunder — he said he wears a sleeve on his shooting arm to protect against exactly this. You could see him wince in pain on the court and he left the game to get some treatment more than once. Here’s his quote, from the Los Angeles Daily News.

“Every time you try to bend your elbow and extend it, Bryant said, “there’s a little resistance and a lot of pain.”

You think he’s going to take a game off? Who have you been watching the last decade? Check out this tweet from Kobe.

Dwight Howard doesn’t get the same credit of playing through pain Kobe does, mostly because Howard’s game seems more impacted by the back and shoulder injuries he’s had. And he’s missed games. And he’s not Kobe.

But Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com he plans to play through the shoulder pain that is still there.

Howard also got hurt in the first quarter, needing the team to call timeout when he reaggravated the torn labrum in his right shoulder that has caused him to miss six games already this season….

“Metta was trying to run through and I was trying to run back and as he was turning around, his momentum pulled my arm all the way back [across my body], and it’s been bugging me since,” Howard said. “I just played through it as much as I can and I try not to worry about it.”

While we’re mentioning it, Metta World Peace is going to play through his ankle pain. He had X-rays taken but they were negative. So he goes.

Wednesday night, on the road in New Orleans, is exactly the kind of game the Lakers MUST win if they are going to stay in the playoff hunt. So injuries? What injuries? The Lakers haven’t got time for the pain.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.