LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant misses second consecutive game with back soreness

first_imgORLANDO >> The legions of fans waited outside of the Lakers’ locker room eager to catch a glimpse. Once Kobe Bryant emerged, screams reached a fever pitch. The volume level increased as Bryant walked out of the entrance tunnel. Just imagine the fanfare Bryant would have received if he played in the Lakers’ 101-99 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday at Amway Center. Instead, Bryant sat on the bench sporting a blue, pin-striped suit. That marked the second contest in consecutive days the 37-year-old Bryant remained on the sideline because of back soreness. “It’s still too tight,” Bryant said. “I stretched it down as much as I can and iced it down as much as I can.” Lakers coach Byron Scott and Bryant still expressed optimism he would return when the Lakers (1-7) play in Dallas on Friday. But Bryant stressed that the “back pain has to go away” after admitting he “had trouble walking” prior to Tuesday’s loss in Miami. Scott conceded, “I don’t know how this will play out,” mindful that Bryant suffered three season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons. Bryant also missed two weeks of training camp after bruising his lower left leg.“In the games he’s ready to play, he’ll play,” Scott said. “If he has some ailments that are bothering him, we’ll give him the day off.”Bryant reported his back injury “comes and goes” after first feeling pain at the beginning of training camp through normal “wear and tear” of a 20-year NBA career. Bryant also admitted the ailment affected his play. Through six games, Bryant has averaged 16.5 points per game on a career-low 32 percent mark from the field and a 20.8 percent clip from 3-point range. But Scott said he did not become aware of Bryant’s back issue until he reported feeling “a little stiff” following last Saturday’s practice in New York. Even when admitting Bryant’s competitive nature, Scott has noted that Bryant remains open with him on how his body feels through both good and bad days. Will Scott become more skeptical about Bryant’s self-evaluations? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “He’s still been honest,” said Scott, who said he shared a similar mentality during his 14-year NBA career. “If I had a back that was a little sore, if I knew I could play, I didn’t tell nobody. I just played. When it got to the point where you can’t play, that’s when you have to tell people.”That explains why Bryant said he likely will not change how he reports injuries to Scott and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.“I’ll talk to Gary and talk to Byron about it when I can’t physically be out there to play,” Bryant said. “When it’s something minor and it’s not going to keep me off the court, probably not.” Bryant stayed off the court in Orlando for the third consecutive season because of an injury. But that did not stop fans from posing for pictures with Bryant in a hallway once the game ended. One fan pleaded to Bryant to play for “one more year” considering his $25 million expires following the 2015-16 season.Bryant will try to play another game first. Energy boostBryant gushed about Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. posting 13 points on a 6-of-6 clip in 20 minutes off the bench against Orlando. “Larry played really well,” Bryant said. “He played with a lot of energy, was active and all over the place. Defensively he did some really good things. Offensively he showed some range.”New opportunityFormer Lakers guard Jabari Brown signed a contract to play for the Foshan Long Lion in China, according to a league source familiar with the situation.last_img

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