Lakers’ day off is particularly well-timed for Kobe, Bynum
Sunday was a day of rest and reflection for the Lakers, particularly for the injured Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.
Both were derailed by injuries Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant not playing because of a sprained left ankle, Bynum sitting out the second half because of a right hip bruise, this on top of the swelling in his left knee that forced him to wear a brace.
The Lakers listed Bryant as questionable for Monday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center and Bynum as “more doubtful.”
Bryant had played in 235 consecutive games before his ankle stopped that streak.
The Lakers took Sunday off, which gave Bryant another day to rest and get treatment on his ankle.
“I would say it’s day to day,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after Saturday night’s game in Portland. “We have an opportunity here [where] it’s two days [off] before the All-Star break and there’s some time there if he does need to take a longer time. We’ll try to give him that liberty to do that if he has to.”
If Bryant were to take off Monday night’s contest and Wednesday night’s game at Utah and not play in the All-Star game Sunday, he would get 10 days off to rest his ankle.
Teammates such as Ron Artest, who said he was “very” surprised Bryant didn’t play against the Trail Blazers, would encourage the All-Star guard to rest.
The Lakers had lost nine in a row in Portland before Saturday’s 99-82 victory, which Bryant watched on TV in the locker room.
That gave them reason to believe they can handle things for the next two games if Bryant decides not to play.
“He needed that game, that day off,” Artest said. “He’s been working really, really hard. He’s been playing through a lot of injuries. Even if he was healthy, he needed a day off. He needed rest to get healthy.
“He’s the only player in the NBA that’s playing through every injury. Everybody else is taking the time off.”
Bryant has played with a fractured right index finger, back spasms and the ankle injury.
Lakers need rest
Last week was an exhausting one for the Lakers, starting with a big victory in Boston last Sunday and ending with perhaps an even bigger victory in Portland.
After his team had played five games in seven days, Jackson called off practice Sunday to allow his players to catch their breath.
The Lakers played 17 of their first 21 games at home, but now they are playing more road games, meaning that in Jackson’s eyes the Lakers “have to pay the piper, it’s one of those things. You just have to do it.
“I’ll give them the day off [Sunday]. It’s something they need, more than anything else,” Jackson said. “We’ll come back Monday and try and make ends meet.”
Pau Gasol sighed and shook his head.
He was looking forward to having Sunday off, as were the rest of the Lakers.
“I can’t wait,” Gasol said Saturday night. “My legs are so heavy right now. It was pretty noticeable out there [against the Trail Blazers]. So, yeah, I can’t wait for [Sunday] just to be able to chill, drink a lot of water, stay off my feet, watch the Super Bowl and just chill and get ready for San Antonio and Utah.”