Archive for Sunday, February 8, 2004

Bryant back with Lakers, but he won’t play today

February 8, 2004


— Kobe Bryant rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers in Orlando, but he won't play today against the Magic.

Bryant, on the injured list because of a cut on his finger, needs more time to heal and is listed as day to day.

The team's medical staff examined the cut at practice Saturday and determined the stitches would stay in for now, Lakers spokeswoman Alison Bogli said.

Bryant refused to speak to reporters before the team bus departed for practice at the Orlando mansion of teammate Shaquille O'Neal. He appeared to be wearing only a small white bandage over the cut, which required nine to 10 stitches.

Bryant was back with the Lakers after not showing up for a game in Philadelphia on Thursday, leaving the team wondering about his whereabouts until shortly before tipoff.

Bryant's agent told the Lakers that the standout guard would join them in Orlando for the fifth game of their seven-game road trip.

"I didn't ask him for an excuse," coach Phil Jackson said Saturday. "I didn't think he needed one. It wasn't important to me that he was standing there or sitting on the bench or whatever. The important thing was he was going to be down here. So, I didn't get into it about that."

Bryant has missed five games since putting his hand through a window Jan. 29. He has sat out 12 total games this season because of the finger, a sprained right shoulder and a sore right knee. He is averaging 21.7 points.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.