Three days after suffering a broken nose and a concussion, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will play tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Getting the OK to play was hardly an easy process. Bryant had to sucessfully complete numerous tests to prove he had no conscussion-related symptoms, including neurological, bicycle, Axon and treadmill tests as well as a game of two-on-two. But neurologist Vern Williams said Bryant “passed them all with flying colors.”
Williams observed Bryant four times after a hard foul from Miami guard Dwyane Wade gave Bryant a broken nose and a concussion, including a visit less than an hour before the 7:30 p.m. tip time. Though Bryant had symptoms as late as Tuesday afternoon, Williams said the “significant majority” of Bryant’s symptoms were more related to whiplash and medication Bryant took for a sore neck than to the concussion itself.
“We don’t have special rules for special people,” Williams said regarding the NBA concussion policy implemented this season.
That requires players to remain symptom-free for 24 hours and successfully complete the aforementioned tests before being cleared by a neurologist. In addition to Williams continually monitoring to see whether Bryant remains asymptomatic, Bryant will also wear a mask to protect his broken nose.
Even though Lakers Coach Mike Brown didn’t know Bryant’s status when he talked with the media Wednesday, he sounded hardly surprised that Bryant appeared normal when he watched his two-on-two drill.
“Kobe is Kobe. I don’t think he ever wants to sit out,” Brown said. “So this is no different than at any time before. He’s just a competitive guy. I don’t care what it is. He’ll probably want to play. If he has two broken legs, he’s the type of guy that would say, ‘Take this one and staple this one and let me get out there.’”