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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: November 7, 9:09 AM ET
Kobe Bryant held out of practice

By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was held out of practice for a second straight day Tuesday as he continues to recover from a sore right ankle and strained right foot.

However, with the Lakers off to just a 1-3 start, Bryant plans to be in the lineup Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, no matter how much he may be hobbled.

Bryant
Bryant

"Hopefully, I'll be about 90 percent (Wednesday)," Bryant said. "(I'm ready to) put this ankle behind me."

The amount Bryant plays is up for debate. Bryant is averaging 37 minutes a game through the first four games of the season and both Bryant and Lakers coach Mike Brown said they would like to cut down on that number.

"I'm physically able to play a big bulk of minutes," Bryant said. "I'm in really tip-top shape so my body can handle that, but if I don't need to play that many minutes, then all the better."

Added Brown: "The one thing I really want to do is be conscious of Kobe's minutes ... What I can do as we go on is continue to try to be more conscious about not throwing him out there for that long. But he's one guy that I know that I don't want to play that many minutes."

Bryant, who acknowledged during the preseason he ideally would play somewhere in the 32-34 minute range this season, was not as specific on Tuesday.

"I don't know if there's a right amount, per se," Bryant said. "... Whatever is necessary. It's a game-by-game thing. Whatever needs to get done, gets done. It's tough to sit there and say there's a certain amount of minutes you need to play every single night. I think every night is a little different."

The heavy workload hasn't hurt Bryant's statistical output. He's averaging 26.8 points per game on an efficient 59.7 percent shooting.

Bryant, 34, certainly hasn't shown many signs of slowing down in his 17th season, and cutting down his minutes could help his longevity.

That doesn't mean he'll be around forever, though, as Bryant provided some context to the CNN Turkey report that quoted the Lakers superstar as saying, "My aim is to play until I'm 40 years old and I believe I can do that."

"Playing 'till I'm 40 is not beyond the realm of possibility," Bryant said Tuesday with a knowing smile. "There's always YMCA games. There's always pick-up games. So, I'll probably be playing. As long as I'm living, I'll probably be playing."

Earlier this season, Bryant told reporters he probably would play two or three more seasons before retiring from the NBA.