Kobe Bryant receives treatment on neck
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The concussion, nasal fracture and whip lash that Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant suffered in the NBA All-Star Game might not have caused him to miss a game, but it has kept him out of practice.
Bryant sat out of Lakers practice on Thursday, a day after putting up 31 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a 104-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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The 16-year veteran used the practice time to receive treatment on his neck. Bryant reported feeling "constant throbbing at the base of my head" after Wednesday's game and was fitted with a kinesiology strip on the back of his neck before he left the arena for the night.
However, Bryant is expected to play in the Lakers' next game on Friday at home against the Sacramento Kings.
After practice on Thursday, Bryant's teammates were still marveling about the performance of the "Masked Mamba" against the Timberwolves.
"He was great," said Pau Gasol. "Not surprisingly, he just stepped up. Obviously there was a little bit of doubt that he might play, he might not play because of the diagnosis of the concussion but he just came up and he was ready. It seemed like he missed playing with our team and he just came out and he played great."
Added Steve Blake: "You can see through the mask, so I figured he'd be able to score like he always does."
Lakers coach Mike Brown said that Bryant's been so good this season, leading the league in scoring with a 28.5 points per game average despite being 33 years old, that he spoils everybody who watches him play.
"I don't know if there is going to be anything that he does now that surprises me," Brown said. "In a way it's good and in a way it's sad. It's sad because he had a terrific performance [Wednesday], especially with everything that happened. He hadn't practiced in a couple days, he hadn't even been with us in a couple days and he goes out and has an efficient game like that on both ends of the floor. That's a career game for a lot of guys, but Kobe goes through all that and it's almost like, 'OK, well that was Kobe.' You try not to take it for granted."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.