LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant missed his ninth game of his 20th and final season Tuesday, sitting out with a sore right shoulder as his Los Angeles Lakers fell 92-90 to the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.
Bryant's right shoulder has bothered him virtually all season and figures to be an issue the rest of the way. It's the same shoulder Bryant had surgery on last season to repair a torn rotator cuff, ending his 2014-15 campaign after 35 games.
"Today, I got up in the morning. I went through my routine, and [the] shoulder is like, I couldn't really move the thing," Bryant said before Tuesday's game. "Usually, the night before, it's kind of a telltale sign with how much it hurts when I sleep."
Bryant added of his shoulder, "I lay down in bed sometimes, it just aches. Just sitting there, it just aches. I prop it up with a pillow. There's a whole technique of how to lay on my side and all this other stuff. Nights like that, it's pretty tough. Then, in the morning, you get up and hope it's a little bit better."
In addition to his shoulder, Bryant has also missed games this season because of a strained right Achilles and back issues. He has also sat out just to rest.
"Soreness with the shoulder, Achilles, I feel like I've worked that pretty well, knock on wood, and I feel like I've been able to play through that and it feels fine," Bryant said. "Now, I've got to take care of the shoulder. We've got a nice stretch coming up, and I want to make sure that this thing's ready to go."
The Lakers have a busy February, which includes a four-game road trip leading into the All-Star weekend in Toronto from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14. Bryant was the leading All-Star vote-getter and named a starter for the Western Conference in what would be his 18th and final appearance in the game.