Kobe Bryant said today he plans to play in the Lakers’ regular-season opener Sunday against the Chicago Bulls despite suffering a torn ligament in his right wrist Monday. He did not participate in today’s practice and wore a protective brace on his wrist.
“I should be fine,” he said.
Bryant was hurt when he fell to the court after DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers blocked his shot on a drive to the basket midway through the third quarter of Monday’s exhibition. Bryant continued to play in the game and practice for a while Tuesday.
“It just swelled up,” he said. “It got real big. In the morning, it felt a little better and I tried practicing and I couldn’t do much. It still got worse. That’s why I knew we had something else going on. I’ll just try to take care of it. It’s always been in my nature to try to figure out a way to play.
“The injuries I’ve had I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play through. I haven’t had injuries where it could get worse. I’ve had tears of ligaments and they’re just not there anymore, so it’s not like it’s going to get any worse. So, if you can play through the pain, if you can catch a basketball, you should be fine.”
Bryant referred to pinky and forefinger injuries he has suffered in recent seasons.
Said coach Mike Brown: “You talk about a guy with a high tolerance for pain, it’s Kobe. Nothing would surprise me at this point in terms of him playing or not playing. I’ve coached some tough guys. … He’s got to be one of the toughest, if not the toughest.”
It’s uncertain what the Lakers might do if Bryant can’t play for an extended period. It’s certainly possible they could take a run at free agent guard/forward Mickael Pietrus, whose contract the Phoenix Suns bought out this afternoon.