This will be the second consecutive game Bryant will miss due to the injury after suffering it on March 31 in the first quarter against, ironically, the Hornets. The Lakers went on to win the game 88-85 but the long-term effects could hurt the team. Los Angeles was blown out by the Phoenix Suns 125-105 on Saturday night without Bryant in the lineup.
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said Bryant’s condition is improving, but he still needs plenty of rest to allow the shin to heal properly. Bryant was seen wearing a walking boot after Los Angeles’ shootaround Monday morning.
“As crazy as it sounds, I think it’s good (that Bryant is sitting out),” said Lakers coach Mike Brown following Monday’s shootaround, according to ESPN.com. “I’m more than OK with it. That’s why you have 13-14 guys on your team.
“Now, obviously I would rather have Kobe than not — get that clear — but it’s good for him to rest. It’s good for him to take some time off and get his body right and get this injury right, especially at this point in the season.”
It is unknown when exactly Bryant will return to the lineup but it is clear he cannot miss any significant amount of time if the Lakers want to remain the third seed in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers are currently a one half game behind them while the Memphis Grizzlies are two. The Clippers and Grizzlies will clash Monday night in a game of the utmost importance.
In 56 games this season, Bryant is averaging 28.1 points, 4.6 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 43.0 percent from the field.