Kobe Bryant understands completely what Pau Gasol’s going through with his week-long concussion.
Bryant suffered one last season during the 2012 NBA All-Star game after Dwyane Wade accidentally elbowed him in the nose. Gasol suffered one last week during the Lakers’ loss Jan. 6 over the Denver Nuggets after JaVale McGee accidentally elbowed his nose.
Even though Bryant rightfully pointed out there’s nothing anyone can do to “expedite” his recovery, he also expressed irritation over how the Lakers’ forward has handled it.
“I was a little angry with him the other day because he’s coming to practice and coming to the games,” Bryant said. “Stay home. Cut all the lights off. Just rest. Let your brain rest. But he wants to be around [the team]. That’s the type of teammate he is.”
Gasol has sat on the Lakers’ bench in the past two contests, including the Lakers’ 104-88 victory Tuesday over the Milwaukee Bucks. Players, including Gasol, are advised to avoid bright lights and noise after having a concussion. It’s possible Gasol has progressed in that stage since Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said the Lakers forward has participated in light shooting drills.
Still, an NBA official has said each player must pass a series of tests symptom free, including stationary bike, light jogging, running, jumping and agility drills, team drills with limited contact and returning to the court without limitations. With Gasol still lacking any medical clearance, he hasn’t passed at least some of the tests.
Bryant managed to receive medical clearance three days after the concussion and didn’t miss any games, partly because he spent every waking hour in dark rooms with minimal noise. He continued that process between games. Bryant also wore a plastic mask to protect the whiplash and tenderness of a broken nose.
“That’s the difference between me and him,” Bryant said. “I’ll stay home and cut the damn lights off. He’s more of a team guy. He wants to be around the fellas. He wants to do his treatment around the fellas.”
Nonetheless, Bryant said he’s “not concerned” on whether Gasol will recover. He will visit with neurologist Dr. Vern Williams Wednesday in what will mark his sixth visit since nursing the concussion.
“It just takes time,” Bryant said. “There’s nothing you can do really to expedite it. It’s not a muscle. You can’t massage it. There’s nothing you can do. You just rest.”
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