OAKLAND — The
Opposing coaches keep lining up to praise
They're probably thankful he's not playing, but they still kiss his five championship rings while talking with reporters beforehand.
Bryant, coincidentally, sustained a torn Achilles' tendon against the Warriors last April.
"I never said this, but I have one regret being a head coach in this league," Jackson said. "If I would have known that Kobe Bryant was hurt, I would've called a timeout. They would not have had to commit a foul.
"That's how much respect I have for him. I appreciate him as a competitor even in the midst of going against him. I was in the huddle saying, 'Don't fall for it. He's all right. Don't allow him to take over this game.' Not knowing he was really hurt."
Bryant was injured with 3:08 to play in that game, falling to the court after his left foot buckled while he drove toward the basket. He was actually fouled on the play by
There is still no timetable for his return.
Jackson said he apologized to Bryant two weeks ago in China, where the Warriors and Lakers played two exhibitions against each other.
"I thought it was important to let him know that," Jackson said. "And typical Kobe, he said, 'Thank you, and I'm coming after you guys next time I see you.' "
"The competitive side of me says yes. The rational side of me might think other things," Rivers said. "He's a rare one. He's a one-percenter."
The quiet man
It's only a small sample size, but Bryant is taking a more low-key approach during games.
When sidelined in the past, he took part in team huddles during timeouts and remained a constant presence. Or he jumped on Twitter with his views of a Lakers game, although that happened only once after the concept was panned by critics.
He hasn't wandered into the huddle this season, choosing instead to sit behind the team bench and talk to players one on one.
There's no right or wrong here. It's just different.
Against the Clippers on Tuesday, he sat next to the Lakers' team doctor, chatted briefly with
"He talked to me, he talked to different guys while he was on the bench," Gasol said. "He did the same with Jordan [Farmar] and other guys. He's still active."
Bryant went with the team for its one-game trip to Golden State and came out to the bench in the third quarter, again assuming a relatively low profile as he sat next to Lakers physical therapist Judy Seto.