Lakers guard Kobe Bryant won’t play in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers because of a strained right shoulder.
Bryant suffered the injury at some point during Tuesday’s practice, but it didn’t start bothering him until later in the evening, according to a Lakers spokesman.
The Lakers will also have to handle the absence of Dwight Howard (back rehab) and Jordan Hill (herniated disk). Coach Mike Brown indicated he would start rookie center Robert Sacre for the second consecutive game, while increasing minutes for power forwards Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark. As far as filling Bryant’s absence, the Lakers have mostly featured Devin Ebanks and Jodie Meeks at backup shooting guard.
Even after speaking to reporters for 15 minutes following Tuesday’s practice, Bryant participated in an hour-long workout with Lakers player development coach Phil Handy, where he worked on his shooting and ballhandling.
Bryant has appeared fairly mobile and spry in training camp. In Tuesday’s practice, he threw down two dunks and proclaimed later that he hasn’t felt this healthy since 2006. He also revealed last week that he opted not to have any overseas procedures this off-season on his surgically repaired right knee.
Yet the Lakers already have taken some precautions regarding his health. Bryant sat out two practice sessions last Friday because of a sore right foot. But he practiced the following day and played in the Lakers’ preseason debut Sunday against the Warriors.
The Lakers’ next preseason game takes place Saturday, when they will host the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.