On Thursday morning, Kobe Bryant yet again suggested that Atlanta Hawks swingman Dahntay Jones intentionally hurt him by sliding his foot under Bryant as the Lakers superstar came down from shooting an 18-foot fadeaway jumper with 3.9 seconds left.
"17yrs. Countless fades. This has happened TWICE. Jalen and Now Ankle still very swollen. Treatment all day #focus," Bryant tweeted.
In that tweet, Bryant also attached a photo of his left ankle, which the Lakers said is severely sprained. Bryant's ankle looks very swollen, almost as though there were a tennis ball attached to his foot.
Bryant is out indefinitely, calling the injury his worst ankle sprain since coming down on Jalen Rose's foot in Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals against Indiana. Bryant missed Game 3, and Rose later admitted that he slid his foot under Bryant on purpose.
Jones, however, had adamantly denied trying to hurt Bryant, initially over Twitter on Wednesday and then on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio channel on Thursday.
"I wasn’t trying to walk up under him," Jones told SiriusXM. "I was trying to contest the jump shot, and my job as a defender is to make people uncomfortable and to challenge shots. I had an iso [isolation] with eight seconds. I was trying to get him to go where I wanted him to. He pulls up and does a fadeaway and his leg kick I ran into and it made him come down awkwardly. That’s how the play went. But I wasn’t trying to walk up under him. It’s very hard to time somebody’s foot, to walk under someone’s foot and do things of that nature when the game is on the line.”
Jones said that he's upset that Bryant has suggested that the injury was intentional.
“That’s very disheartening and that’s not the way I play the game right now," Jones told the radio station. "... I didn’t try to do anything to hurt him. I have too much respect for him to try to hurt him."
Jones said that he's tried to reach out to Bryant on social media "to let him know that that wasn't malicious at all." He said he hasn't called Bryant because he doesn't have his number.
After sustaining the ankle injury, Bryant vented on Twitter, calling the play "dangerous" and saying that a foul should have been called.
Later, he tweeted that he's using compression and ice to help with the swelling and he's watching "Django" and "Zero Dark Thirty" to keep himself distracted.
At around noon, he decided that he's done complaining about his ankle on Twitter.
"I've cried foul play enough Big boy pants time for me. #tweetvent what else is this thing for? Political correctness? Ha. #saywatufeel"
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