- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (foot) did not travel with the team for its final exhibition game in San Diego on Thursday night, and his status for the team's season opener next Tuesday remains in question.
"Oh, he's hurt," coach Mike Brown said of Bryant. "I don't know what that means, but he is hurt. He's a tough guy. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around."
Brown said the Lakers decided it would be best for Bryant to stay in Los Angeles, rather than make the two-hour bus ride to San Diego because he needs to keep his foot elevated.
Asked whether he was more or less optimistic Bryant would be able to play in the Lakers' season-opener Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks, Brown said simply, "I don't know if he will or not."
Bryant's injury is classified as a strain, and the team officially is saying he is out indefinitely. The Lakers have said they will re-evaluate his status this weekend.
A 17-year veteran, Bryant missed several practices earlier in training camp because of discomfort in the same right foot. However, sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday night that this injury is in a different place on his right foot and is considerably more painful.
The news on Lakers center Dwight Howard was considerably better. As expected, he started Thursday night's game after sitting out Wednesday's 97-91 loss to the Clippers because he was sore after playing Sunday night, his first game action in six months.
Bryant, meanwhile, was injuredwhen he tripped over Thomas Robinson's foot in the third quarter of Sunday's 99-92 loss to the Kings.
Bryant told reporters Tuesday that he was experiencing a lot of pain from the injury and doubted he would play Wednesday.
Bryant's injury means that the Lakers' new-look starting five of him, Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace will have played just one game together in the preseason. Jodie Meeks started in Bryant's place on Wednesday and Devin Ebanks started Thursday.
"Obviously it would have been great if they would have had more on-court time against a different colored jersey," Brown said. "But, again, I'm a long-term guy and not a short-term guy, so, they'll be ready when it counts."
The Lakers are 0-7 in the preseason, their worst preseason start in franchise history.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and Brian Kamenetzky was used in this report.
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