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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Kobe off crutches

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posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 04:32 PM
LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant was off crutches Friday for the first time since spraining his right ankle, but remained uncertain when he will be able to play for the Lakers again.

Asked if he might be ready to go when Los Angeles hosts San Antonio on Feb. 3, Bryant replied, "That will be a fun one. Hopefully, I'll have a couple of games under my belt."

Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich noted Bryant's arrival.

"I saw him sliding in here. It wasn't an even gait, but he was without crutches, so that's progress," Tomjanovich said.

Bryant hurt his ankle in the first quarter of the Lakers' win over Cleveland on Jan. 13, and initially was expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

A couple of hours before Los Angeles' game against Golden State on Friday night, Bryant was on the court, shooting some baskets from the bench and even taking -- and making a few -- left-handed shots from halfcourt while holding his injured right foot off the floor.

"I can put pressure on it, but can't push off on it yet," Bryant said. "But I'm getting there. It felt great. You know how much I love the game, so it felt good just to be out there.

"When I first came back in locker room when I hurt it, I couldn't even take the shoe off. It was that bad. Now I'm at the point where it can bear weight, so we're turning the corner pretty well."

His teammates, who defeated Golden State 105-101 on Friday night, are 3-1 since he went down. Bryant didn't seem surprised they've picked up the slack.

"I said from the beginning that I had no doubt that we'd step up to the plate. The attitude, the atmosphere around here, it's confidence, that swagger that we have," he said before the game. "When we compete in practice, I'm running my mouth all the time talking trash, challenging players.

"What happens when you're constantly on the edge, challenging, when a challenge is presented, it's second nature. You just step up to the plate."

He sees his absence as a growing experience for his teammates.

"When I'm in there, they defer to me so much, to the point where they don't feel comfortable," Bryant said. "So when I get back, they'll have the confidence they can make those big shots, not like they'll have to come to me every time."



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 12:32 PM
Team: Star 'unlikely' to play on Feb. 6 road trip

Injured Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant is expected to miss as many as nine more games because of a severely sprained right ankle, the team has said.

Bryant, who was injured Jan. 13, already has sat out six games and could miss four home games and a five-game road trip that begins Feb. 6, Lakers spokesman John Black told the Los Angeles Times for Friday's edition.

"As of today, it's unlikely that he'll play on the trip," Black told the paper. "We maintain hope that he'll be back soon. He's a fast healer compared to most people, but that was a severe sprain."

Bryant will travel with the team and continue daily treatments.

He plans to skip the Feb. 20 All-Star Game in Denver if the ankle has not healed. If he plays before that, though -- and doesn't aggravate the injury -- the NBA likely will expect him to participate in the showcase game. He is second in voting among Western Conference guards.

On Thursday, Bryant's attorneys said they had found out that the woman accusing the player of rape has reached a money settlement with the owners of The Globe and other tabloids that printed her picture and stories about her hotel encounter with Bryant.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.


And my fantasy team continues to wilt...


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