Kobe Bryant says he's fine
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- After going through a full Christmas Eve practice, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said he was OK but refused to answer any questions about the torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist.
"I'm fine," Bryant said on the eve of his team's season opener against the Chicago Bulls. "I'm not talking about my injury."
When Bryant was asked Saturday if he would play against the Bulls, he answered with an exasperated expression.
Bryant's ability to play with an injury that was expected to sideline him 3-4 weeks came as no surprise to Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who has seen Bryant play through various injuries since their rookie year with the Lakers in 1996.
"It's not a surprise that he's going to play tomorrow, I called it a few days ago," Fisher said. "I don't know if it's as much about his physical ability to play through pain as it is his mentality capacity and strength. Your ability to focus has to be at an all-time high to push through certain levels of pain and still be effective and still be the kind of player that he's going to be."
Lakers coach Mike Brown said Bryant looked good in practice and he couldn't tell he was injured.
"He's done some things where he has not said one word and has just kept playing," Brown said. "Knowing what he's going through now, he's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around. It's a little surprising when you're around him to see how mentally and physically tough he is."
Brown also said Josh McRoberts would start the game at power forward with Pau Gasol moving to center during Andrew Bynum's four-game suspension. McRoberts joins Devin Ebanks, who will start at small forward, as new opening day starters on the team from last season.
"I'm not going to be our first option scoring the ball, obviously, but I'm going to be aggressive," McRoberts said. "Whether that translates to scoring or translates into making passes that lead to an assist, it doesn't matter. I'm just going to play the game and play as hard as I can and attack the rim."
Arash Markazi is a staff reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.