“Old age,” Bryant gave as the main reason.
“My knees are sore at this stage of the season. My Achilles' are sore, both of them. Metatarsals are tight. Back’s tight. I just need to kind of hit the reset button.”
He worked with a Lakers physical therapist for an hour and a half Thursday morning, “taking care of every part of my body,” he said.
“When I have a couple days [off], what happens is the body realizes how messed up it is. So everything else starts hurting,” Bryant explained. “It’s tough with our health team here, trying to find new ways of doing it because there’s really no blueprint for playing this long, at this position at least, in the NBA. We’re really trying to figure new things out, trying to see what’s out there, trying to see what works, what doesn’t work. It’s constantly experimenting.”
Bryant said he would try to figure out which parts of the court were better for him from an efficiency standpoint.
“It’s habit for me to move around and be active offensively all over the place from different spots on the floor,” he said. “I don’t think my body can hold up to that anymore.”
Bryant, 36, also sat out the Lakers’ unexpected 115-105 victory over Golden State on Tuesday. There was only a “slim” chance he would play Friday in Dallas.
“I’ll get back to being healthy, like I was at the start of the season,” Bryant said. “We’ll probably cut down the minutes.”
Bryant is averaging 35.5 minutes a game this season, only one minute below his career average. His scoring has been solid -- 24.6 points a game-- but he's shooting only 37.2%, more than eight percentage points below his career mark before this season.
Bryant said he was especially disappointed to miss a Christmas Day game, let alone one in Chicago against former teammate Pau Gasol, his good friend.
Bryant said he was impressed by the team’s effort against Golden State two days ago.
“I thought they played extremely well. They shot the ball very well and hopefully they can play the same way" Thursday, he said.
The ball movement was stellar against the Warriors. Bryant noticed it too.
“Ball movement is a lot easier to make when guys are hitting shots,” he said. “When we don’t hit shots, then I try to take on the load myself and you have a lot of standing around. In games where they hit shots, I sit back and let them hit shots.”