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Bulls expect Kobe Bryant to play

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has a torn ligament in his wrist, but the Chicago Bulls still expect him to play on Christmas Day.

"We're not worried about it," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said after Thursday's practice. "We're going to take the game as if he's going to play and just approach it that way."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau echoed those sentiments.

"He's day to day, but we're planning on him playing," Thibodeau said. "They're a talented team, it's a lot more than just Kobe, so we have to be ready for everybody."

Bryant spoke in Los Angeles Thursday after the Lakers practice and said his wrist feels "OK."

"I should be fine," said Bryant after Lakers practice Thursday. "... It's always been in my nature to try to figure out a way to play. The injuries that I've had, I've been fortunate enough to be able to play through them because I haven't had injuries where they could get worse the more I played on them."

Bryant injured the wrist ligament during Monday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"He's always played through things, that's why I'm anticipating him playing," Thibodeau said. "His career speaks for itself. He's one of the premier players in the league.

"The Lakers have been one of the best organizations and teams in the league for a long time. So we have to be ready."

Just how much different the Lakers may be without Bryant, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum in the lineup on Sunday, Rose isn't sure. He just knows his team better be ready despite the fact the Lakers lost both preseason games to the Clippers.

"I really don't know," he said. "I haven't seen them that much. I just saw that they lost both games, but it's preseason. You never know how they'll do during their regular game, but we're willing to take any challenge.

"We know it's going to be a hard game, they got key pieces on their team and we're just trying to play."

Rose is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's going to be fun," he said. "It's something I've been thinking about for a very long time. ... I'm looking forward to it. I'm trying to knock off the dust. We're playing great, passing the ball to one another and we're playing team basketball."

Rose acknowledged that he has tried to emulate Bryant's game.

"When he first came into the league, I was watching him a lot because he was a driver," Rose said. "Of course, he could shoot a little bit, but when he first came in he was more athletic than he is right now.

"Age definitely got to him, but that's with any player that's played that many playoff games and won as many championships as he did. With him, I watched him a little bit, just trying to get fouled, being aggressive every time I touch the ball like he does and try to apply it to my game."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.