Saturday, March 19, 2011
Kobe Bryant sits; Andrew Bynum waits
By Dave McMenamin
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers were left playing a game of wait-and-see after practice Saturday, as the health of their starting shooting guard and the eligibility of their starting center remained in question.
Kobe Bryant, hampered by a swollen left ankle after spraining it three games ago against Dallas, did not practice and was still feeling the effects of his collision with Minnesota's Martell Webster on Friday. Bryant suffered from a sore neck after the game, stemming from when the back of Webster's head struck Bryant's face while Bryant was going for a steal in the fourth quarter.
"He's doing OK today," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant. "He's got a little stiff neck and obviously he still has work to do with that ankle."
Bryant told reporters after the Minnesota game, "I'll be ready, for sure, I promise you that," when asked about his status for Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers -- a potential first-round playoff foe for L.A.
The 15-year veteran was edgy during his postgame remarks Friday.
"He was bothered" was how Jackson summed up Bryant's mood.
Jackson said he and Bryant did not discuss whether Bryant would play Sunday, but he participated in the team's preparation for Portland as if he would.
"He went through the defensive things, came out and observed the team and walked through what we did today," Jackson said.
Bryant did not speak to reporters Saturday.
As for Lakers center Andrew Bynum, the team had still not heard word from the NBA as of 1 p.m. PT whether he would be suspended for the flagrant foul 2 he was assessed for taking Minnesota's Michael Beasley to the floor in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 106-98 win over the Timberwolves.
"It's 4 o'clock in New York. Either they're going to go home or they're going to give us a call," said Jackson, citing the location of the league's office. "One way or another they're going to comment on it, I imagine."
It is customary for the league to notify a team of a suspension with at least a day before its next game, but Jackson said he remembered being informed one of his players was suspended the day of the game in the past.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.