SACRAMENTO — Even with the Lakers’ aging backcourt fighting injuries, both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will suit up when the Lakers play tonight against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
Bryant will play despite nursing a bone spur in his left foot and a sprained left ankle, while Nash will suit up despite having a right hip spasm.
“I’m playing tonight,” Bryant wrote on his Facebook page. “Foot feels much better. I just pray it holds up during the game.”
Bryant has had the foot injury “for a while,” according to a Lakers spokesman, though it’s not related to the left ankle injury he suffered in the Lakers’ loss. Meanwhile Nash said he felt pain in his right hip during the Lakers’ loss Monday to the Golden State Warriors. But both Bryant and Nash participated in the team’s morning shootaround.
“Both of them said they’re fine,” D’Antoni said. “Whatever that means, they’re as fine as can be.”
Bryant remains five points shy of surpassing Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (31,419 points), but the Lakers have far more pressing concerns. The Utah Jazz (37-36) currently has the eighth playoff spot over the Lakers (37-36) since it leads the regular-season series.
Remaining in the playoff race could prove a daunting task for the Lakers beyond their inconsistency and injury issues. The Lakers’ nine remaining games feature five playoff caliber teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies (April 5), Clippers (April 7), Golden State (April 12), San Antonio (April 14) and Houston (April 17).
“It’ll be worse if it’s April 18th,” D’Antoni said, referring to the day after the season ends. “We still have nine games and are tied. That’s what the guys have to understand. Our goal is to win nine games. If we win nine in a row, hopefully Utah loses one. If they lose two, we can lose one. Every game is crucial and every game you have to win. You don’t know what Utah is going to do.”
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