ATLANTA -- Kobe Bryant severely sprained his left ankle Wednesday night and will be out indefinitely, according to the Lakers.
Bryant appeared to come down on Dahntay Jones' foot after missing a baseline shot in the final seconds of the Lakers' 96-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Bryant left the game after the Lakers committed a foul. He did not return. X-rays were negative.
Bryant was not happy with Jones, suggesting the Hawks swingman caused the sprain by purposely sliding his foot under Bryant while he was still in the air on the 18-foot fadeaway jumper.
“First and foremost, I think the officials really need to protect shooters,” Bryant said. “Defensive players, you can contest shots but you can’t walk underneath players.
"It’s just a very, very dangerous play, especially if I’m fading away. There’s no rhyme or reason why I should come down anywhere near somebody’s foot.”
Jones said on Twitter that he was not trying to hurt Bryant.
“Tape doesn't lie,” Jones said. “[Bryant’s] ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man.”
Bryant said it was the worst ankle sprain he’d experienced since coming down on Jalen Rose’s foot in Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals against Indiana. Bryant missed a game in that series, which the Lakers eventually won. Rose later admitted he slid his foot under Bryant on purpose.
Bryant and Jones have a history. Jones was assessed a flagrant foul for tripping Bryant while with Denver in the 2009 Western Conference finals.
Bryant obviously wasn’t thrilled with Jones after Wednesday’s game.
“I can’t get my mind past the fact that I’ve got to wait a year to get revenge,” he said.
Bryant had 31 points but did not shoot well, missing 22 of 33 shots.
The Lakers (34-32) had been playing well, winning four consecutive games, but took a step back by losing to the injury-depleted Hawks.