INDIANAPOLIS — After nursing a severely sprained ankle that he described only a day ago as “very swollen,” Kobe Bryant remains a game-time tonight when the Lakers (34-32) visit the Indiana Pacers (40-24) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“It’ll get better every day,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ll see. When he can go, he’ll go.”
Bryant attended morning shootaround Friday to receive more treatment, but wasn’t on the court during the team walk throughs. Bryant declined to speak to reporters afterwards. If Bryant sits out, Jodie Meeks will start at shooting guard.
But he’s already said plenty regarding his contention that Atlanta guard Dahntay Jones knowingly “walked underneath him” while shooting an 18-foot fadeaway in the final seconds of the Lakers’ 96-92 loss Wednesday to the Hawks.
“Officials really need to protect shooters,” Bryant said afterward.
The NBA said Thursday that Bryant should have been awarded two free throws because he was not given “the opportunity to land cleanly back on the floor.” Yet, Jones won’t face any league-imposed penalties for the play.
“It was a classic that [Kobe] came down on a foot and turned it,” D’Antoni said. “I agree with the NBA, but it happens all the time. It’s one of those bad things. They did make a conscious effort to say that if you come down on somebody’s foot that’s an automatic foul.”
Does D’Antoni believe Dahntay positioned himself intentionally so Bryant would fall on his foot?
“I don’t,” D’Antoni said.
Bryant spent most of the Lakers’ day off Thursday icing his severely sprained left ankle and receiving compression therapy to reduce swelling, while watching the movies, “Django Unchained, ” Zero Dark Thirty” and “This is Forty.” He described his ankle on Twitter as “still very swollen,” confirmed by Instagram photos that made his ankle appear as if it had a tennis ball attached to it.
Bryant also remained irked about the play itself.
17 yrs. Countless fades. This has happened TWICE,” he wrote on Twitter. “Jalen (Rose) and Now.”
Rose, an ESPN analyst, conceded he intentionally hurt Bryant in the 2000 NBA Finals by planting his foot underneath where Bryant would land after shooting a jumper, an injury that sidelined him for most of Game 2 and all of Game 3. Bryant responded well enough in Game 4 (28 points) and Game 6 (26 points).
Bryant missed five games in the 2010 season and the All-Star Game over an 18-day span because of a sprained left ankle. He missed 14 games because of a sprained right ankle in 2005 after falling on the foot of Cleveland’s Ira Newbie.
“I’ve cried foul play enough,” Bryant wrote on Twitter. “Big boy pants time for me.”
The Lakers play Sunday against Sacramento and Monday at Phoenix. They then have a three-day stretch before playing Friday against Washington.
“He’s pretty remarkable at how well he recovers,” D’Antoni said of Bryant.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org