Friday, December 23, 2011
Updated: December 24, 1:02 PM ET
Kobe Bryant practices fully
By Andy Kamenetzky
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- One day after saying he'd be "fine" for the regular season opener on Christmas Day against the Chicago Bulls despite a torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant participated in a full practice Thursday afternoon.
And by all accounts, he remains just fine. Bryant's teammates and coach Mike Brown noted no ill effects from the injury and the 13-time All-Star said the key was to "get used to" the pain, then to stop thinking about it altogether.
"You just go out there and play your game," Bryant said. "Not think about it as much. ... I try to block it out."
Bryant admitted working through the ailment required some physical adjustments on his part to compensate, but he described them as merely "subtle."
Whatever steps Bryant took were a mystery to his teammates and coach, who all maintained they couldn't even tell the difference before he got injured and now.
"It didn't affect his game," said Brown. "I didn't see anything different, so he's good to go. He's tough. That's a tough, tough man.
"To me, he looked as good as ever."
Added Lakers forward Pau Gasol: "I think he's a player that has remarkable will to fight through anything. And he proved it today by being out there. By not even questioning the fact that he might not play. He's a fighter. He's a warrior. He's out there and he's the leader of this team, so it's important for him to do that."
Asked if Bryant might take the ball to the basket in an effort to avoid the stress of shooting jumpers, longtime teammate Derek Fisher disagreed.
"I think he'll do the opposite, actually," said Fisher. "I think he'll prove right away, probably from the first possession, that he's fine and he's capable of making a shot from anywhere on the floor. So I wouldn't doubt him catching it and shooting it from 22 feet the first time he touches it, just to make sure he's all clear he can make a shot."
As for the notion of opponents targeting his wrist for physical punishment, Bryant waved it off.
"This ain't the '80s," he said.
Andy Kamenetzky is a co-author of the Land O' Lakers blog for ESPNLosAngeles.com.