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LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant isn't sure if he'll play in this weekend's NBA All-Star Game in Dallas because of his sore left ankle.Bryant missed his second consecutive game Monday night against San Antonio, but the Los Angeles Lakers still avenged their most recent 20-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs, winning 101-89 on Monday -- without two-fifths of their starting lineup.
Bryant could take an extended, 10-day rest, but Jackson said Bryant wants to play on Wednesday and he wants Bryant to play, too.
"I wish we had him on the floor [Monday night]," Jackson said before Monday's game. "We always go out and play. We play to what's best for us, but you always want to have a player like that to change the game.
"I think if he feels like he can play, he's going to play. Otherwise, he's not just going to sit out just because it might extend the duration when he doesn't have to play. We talked about it before. If he felt like playing was going to be detrimental to his overall game or his athletic ability, he's not going to play, so obviously that's a choice he'll make on Wednesday."Bryant stayed in the lockerroom to get treatment Monday night. "It's frustrating. I'm not used to this. I don't know what the hell players are supposed to do back here," he said. "I don't know what's going on half the time." Bryant's streak of 235 consecutive games played ended Saturday when he sat out the Lakers' first win at Portland since 2005. He said his reputation for being a warrior who refuses to shut it down is overblown. "I'm not an idiot. I'm not going to run through a wall just to run through a wall," he said. "If it's an injury where I feel like I can play through it and have it heal while I'm playing, then I'll play. But if it's the type of injury where it's going to get worse when I play, then I won't." Asked what percentage he needed to be at to play again, Bryant said, "If I can move, I'm good. If I can move and get to the basket, I'm good."
Bryant first injured the ankle six games ago on Jan. 29 in Philadelphia after a third-quarter collision with the Sixers' Elton Brand. The condition of his ankle worsened against Charlotte when Lamar Odom stepped on his left foot just before halftime, re-aggravating the injury.Already this season, he's been playing through a fracture of his right index finger.
Jackson said that he wasn't concerned with the growing number of injuries that Bryant has accumulated throughout the year and is focused solely on his star player's ankle.
"A finger's one thing," Jackson said. "An ankle or whatever else is going on is an entirely different situation. Basketball is a running game. You really don't want to put yourself in a situation where you're not running well."
Jackson showed confidence by plugging Odom and Shannon Brown into the starting lineup in Bryant and Bynum's places, but admitted the team would miss its starters.
"We're well aware of the fact that these guys [on the bench] can play," Jackson said. "Given the opportunity, we hope they can perform well. That's why they're on our team, but we know that we're going to miss some of our strength of our team which is our size and our length, which is what Andrew gives us, and Kobe gives us that X factor that wins ballgames."Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com Lakers writer Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report.