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Saturday, February 6, 2010
Bryant sits with sprained ankle

By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Kobe Bryant has played through knee, groin, elbow, back and finger injuries this season, but his sprained left ankle finally caused him to sit out.

Bryant, who had 33 points and nine rebounds in the Lakers' 126-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday despite the injury, was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the Lakers' 99-82 win against the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant approached him in the coaches' room before the game and said, "I'm thinking about not playing" to which Jackson replied, "It's OK if you don't."

Bryant is listed as day-to-day and told ESPN 710's John Ireland he would make his decision about whether to play in Monday's home game against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

The Lakers have the day off Sunday.

"We have an opportunity here with two games before the All-Star break and there is some free time there if he does need to take a longer time," Jackson said. "We're trying to give him the liberty to do that."

Bryant injured his ankle five games ago on Jan. 29 in Philadelphia after a third-quarter collision with the 76ers' Elton Brand. He has been inconsistent ever since, looking great against Memphis (season-high 44 points) and limited against Charlotte (season-low five points).

Bryant said he came into the Charlotte game feeling stiff and his condition worsened when Lamar Odom stepped on his left foot just before halftime, re-aggravating the ankle injury.

It put an end to Bryant's consecutive games played streak at 235, which was the fifth-longest active streak in the NBA. Bryant's streak started after March 7, 2007 when he served a one-game suspension for striking Marko Jaric in the face.

It has been even longer since he missed a game because of injury. Bryant sat out on Dec. 8, 2006, also because of a sprained ankle. He was injured early in the third quarter of a 101-87 victory over Indiana on Dec. 4 of that year when he got an offensive rebound and missed an off-balance shot before landing on Pacers center Jeff Foster's right foot.

Bryant played in the Lakers' next game Dec. 6 against the Hornets, which made the ankle worse, and he had to sit out two days later against the Hawks.

Portland was without its star guard, Brandon Roy. The Trail Blazers announced Saturday that Roy will miss the team's next three games and the NBA All-Star Game because of a right hamstring strain.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.