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Kobe Bryant's minutes in Lakers' exhibition games to be limited for now

Kobe Bryant's minutes in Lakers' exhibition games to be limited for now
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant makes a pass around Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov (25) during the first half of their exhibition game Monday in San Diego. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

If you're curious about Kobe Bryant and want to see him play a lot more minutes, you're going to have to wait.

The plan will be the same for the Lakers' second exhibition game Thursday against Golden State at Staples Center — Bryant will play the first and third quarters.

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As long as he stays out of foul trouble, it probably will be a little more time than the 21 minutes he logged in Monday's exhibition. He checked out with about three minutes left in that first quarter after picking up his second foul.

There's no need to push him, Coach Byron Scott believes. Wait for the real games, which begin Oct. 28 against Houston.

"As we get closer to the end of preseason, we'll ratchet it up a little bit," Scott said Wednesday.

Bryant had 13 points and five assists in the Lakers' 98-95 victory over Denver, an efficient start for a player who appeared in only six games last season.

He wants to play all eight games before the regular season, but the team hasn't decided whether to let him take part in the only back-to-back of exhibition play — Oct. 21 against Phoenix and Oct. 22 against Portland.

"A lot of it is based on how he feels," Scott said. "He says he feels great, got through training camp feeling really good and got in great shape."

Scott would listen if Bryant wanted to sit a game, he said.

But what if rookie Julius Randle asked for a break?

"I might play him 40 minutes just to mess with him," Scott said, smiling.

Young at heart

The always-jovial Nick Young was at the Lakers' training facility Wednesday, two days after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Despite the prospect of missing eight weeks, Young was his usual self, and could probably remain that way for at least two more days.

He told Scott, after all, he couldn't run for a while. Doctor's orders.

"In the long run, I'm going to get the last laugh," Scott said. "Probably two [days] and then we'll get him back on the court."

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As Young walked off the court Wednesday, a Lakers publicist jokingly told him reporters wanted to sign his cast. Young, though, kept walking into the locker room and crooned, "I'm on medication, man."

Scott was asked whether there was any way to bring down the ebullient Young.

"You'd have to shoot him. And that might not even work," he said.

Young, 29, averaged a career-high 17.9 points last season and was rewarded with a four-year, $21.5-million contract.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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