It’s unknown whether Kobe Bryant will play against Orlando


Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Sunday and he didn’t talk to the media, declining even to give an update on his injured left ankle or his playing status for Monday night’s game.

So it was left up to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson to clarify matters, saying only that Bryant would be a game-time decision for the contest against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center.

“We hope he’ll be able to play,” Jackson said.

After a light practice Sunday, Jackson said he hadn’t seen or talked to Bryant about his injury, but he expected his guard to get treatment.


Minutes after Jackson left his media session, Bryant was heard talking with Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.

If Bryant doesn’t play Monday night, he would have five days to rest his ankle, because the Lakers don’t play again until Friday night, when they play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If Bryant does play, he would have three days off between games to rest an injured ankle he called the “scariest” of his career. The injury occurred in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.

“Yeah, it would be great for him to have three days off to get better,” Jackson said. “But if he’s capable of playing, he’ll play.”

Though the Lakers would rather have Bryant in the lineup, it’s not as if they have suffered much when he has missed games.

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The Lakers went 6-3 last season when Bryant was out because of injuries.

There was one stretch last season in which they went 4-1 when Bryant sat out with a sprained left ankle, getting impressive wins at Portland, against San Antonio and at Utah.

What did they do better without Bryant?

“Ran our offense,” Jackson deadpanned. “Simple as that.”

Blake remains calm

Even though he’s averaging a career-low 4.2 points per game for the Lakers, even though he’s making just 36.1% of his shots, the second lowest of his eight-year career, Steve Blake maintained that he hasn’t grown frustrated.

Blake doesn’t get as many opportunities with the Lakers as he has with past teams, but that’s not an issue for him.

“I don’t get frustrated with not taking shots,” Blake said. “Sometimes I get frustrated with myself like after the game for missing shots.… I don’t mind not getting a lot of attempts.”

Blake showed signs of his former self against the Mavericks on Saturday night.

He nine points on three-for-seven shooting, and was three for five from three-point range. Blake also had five assists.

“I’ve had a lot of confidence in Steve as far as playing in situation like that where his speed and quickness is going to help us defensively,” Jackson said. “Offensively, whatever he gives us is gratification. We’re always happy about the fact that he’s aggressive offensively. Sometimes he’s a reluctant shooter.”

Intriguing matchup

Andrew Bynum has been a force for the Lakers at center since the All-Star break.

He’ll meet another force Monday night, when Bynum goes up against Magic center Dwight Howard.

It will be key matchup for the Lakers.

“He’s always been excited about playing against him,” Jackson said. “He’s bigger than Dwight. He’s got the size on him. Dwight has some more experience. He has played a little bit longer than Drew has, as far as number of games. But Drew is in the catch-up mode.”

Bynum is 7-foot, 285 pounds and is in his sixth season. Bynum has played in 320 games, including 42 this season. He is averaging 11.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

Howard is 6-11, 265 pounds and is in his seventh season. He has played in 553 total games. He is averaging 22.8 points, 14 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.