Mike Brown returns to Lakers; Kobe Bryant expected to sit out

Mike Brown walked up to Andrew Bynum at the Lakers’ training facility Saturday, laughing and making the usual post-practice small talk.

The mood around the team was significantly lighter one day after the Lakers coach departed Staples Center before a game against the Denver Nuggets to attend to an undisclosed family matter.

Brown declined to discuss the reason that prompted him to leave his team, calling it a personal issue.

“It was one of those instances where it was time to be with the family,” Brown said, “and I felt it was the right thing for me to leave.”

Brown will be back when the Lakers play host to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, but Kobe Bryant probably won’t. The coach said his star shooting guard would probably miss a fifth consecutive game because of a sore left shin.

Brown said he watched part of the Lakers’ 103-97 victory over the Nuggets, including Matt Barnes’ 16-foot fadeaway jumper at the halftime buzzer. The coach said he joked with his assistants that Barnes made the shot only after closing his eyes.

Assistant John Kuester coached the Lakers in Brown’s absence. Brown said the Lakers’ deep stable of assistant coaches means his team will always be in capable hands.

“You hate to say this as a head coach, but I feel like I have one, two, three … I mean, I have four guys on my staff that are capable of being head coaches next year withDarvin [Ham] on his way,” Brown said. “So whether I’m here or somebody else is here or not, the staff that I have is terrific.”


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Mike Brown returns to Lakers; Kobe Bryant expected to sit out

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