The Lakers haven’t fretted too much about their 0-6 preseason record, even if it marks their worst start since keeping official stats since 1982.
But they now do have cause for concern. Both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard might miss the Lakers’ preseason game Wednesday vs the Clippers because of respective right foot and back injuries.
Bryant sat out of Tuesday’s practice, marking his second consecutive practice he missed because of a bruised and sore right foot that he described as “pretty sore” and characterized the pain level as “pretty high.” When asked if Bryant would play, he said “probably not.” Bryant provided the same answer in regards to if it was a regular season game.
“It’s probably a good thing. It’ll slow me down a little bit,” said Bryant, who’s averaged 20.4 points on 50% shooting in 26.8 minutes. “I’ve been going full bore pretty much every day. It’s probably a good thing.”
Meanwhile, Howard played in only the limited portions of Tuesday’s practice that involved no contact. A Lakers spokesman said Howard’s absence was just “precautionary” after reporting soreness from his surgically repaired back after making his debut in the team’s preseason loss Sunday against Sacramento.
Still, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said “there is a chance he may not” play against the Clippers. Howard didn’t talk to reporters Tuesday, but he described his body as “pretty sore” following Monday’s session.
Second-round draft pick Robert Sacre, who started for five games during Howard’s absence, would start at center. Brown said he’s leaning toward starting sharpshooter Jodie Meeks, though he said he’d choose between Meeks and Devin Ebanks. And Brown said it’s possible reserve forward Jordan Hill will play Wednesday after recovering from a herniated disk.
“We have to keep playing,” Brown said. “That’s why we have a team. It’s great from the standpoint that other guys will have an opportunity to step up and try to produce. We don’t want to rush anybody back from any injury at all.”
Brown, normally long-winded albeit tight-lipped, even sounded concerned about Bryant’s health.
“I don’t know how serious it is,” Brown said. “When it comes to Kobe sitting out, it’s got to be bothering him.”
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