Olympic team will monitor Kobe Bryant’s health closely

Kobe Bryant was named today to the preliminary 20-man roster for the 2012 London Olympics, which wasn’t a surprise given his gold-medal performance with Team USA in 2008. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo each talked about keeping tabs on Bryant’s health as the Games approach.

They want him healthy and contributing.

“I think Kobe really wants to be in London and depending on injury, that will be his choice, but it will have to be something very, very serious (to sideline him),” Krzyzewski said. “He has a number of years left, but I know he would want another Olympic championship. He’s about championships, and we need him … because of that mentality and being one of the leaders for our team.”

Said Colangelo: “He’s such a competitor, he’ll do anything to play and he wanted to take any role he was asked to play. So in this particular case, Kobe is going to keep us posted and we’ll watch him as closely as we can. We don’t want to put him in any jeopardy whatsoever, and we won’t.”

Bryant has been playing with a torn ligament in his right wrist. He also has had issues with his right knee, pinky, index finger and ring finger in recent seasons. He traveled to Germany during the offseason to have a procedure performed on his knee.

The final Olympic roster must be pared to 12 by June, or before the U.S. begins its training camp sometime after July 4. The Games will be held July 27-Aug. 12.

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