INDIANAPOLIS — From his game-winning shots, to his acrobatic moves and commanding personality, Kobe Bryant always remained an idol for Nick Young.
But now he’s following something that has plagued Bryant all season. Young’s sitting out with another injury. He will miss the Lakers’ two-game trip with stops in Indiana (tonight) and Memphis (Wednesday) after feeling additional swelling during the Lakers’ loss Sunday against Brooklyn in his fractured left knee. It’s possible Young will return Friday when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
“I’m Kobe now,” Young cracked. “I missed the whole shootaround and didn’t move.”
Young returned in only two weeks after nursing both a bone bruise and nondisplaced fracture in the patella of his left knee, and Young admitted that quick recovery time didn’t consist of taking an MRI. Young remained adamant he doesn’t need to be reevaluated, but he listened to the Lakers’ training staff. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni added, “there’s no reason to push him.”
“It’s something that can get worse or cause other injuries,” said Young, who plans to receiving icing and treatment. “So that’s why they want me to wait until I’m pain free.”
Without Young, the Lakers will use the same starting lineup for the second consecutive game, including Kendall Marshall (point guard), Jodie Meeks (small forward), Wesley Johnson (power forward) and Pau Gasol (center). The Lakers have their hands full going up against Indiana, which boasts the NBA’s best record and defense in points allowed. Meanwhile, the Lakers rank 29th out of 30 NBA teams in total defense.
“I don’t think we can match up with them and beat them,” D’Antoni said. “So to do that, we’ll have to speed it up and spread it out, hit some shots and defend as hard as we can.”
Young posted only 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting in 19 minutes in the Lakers’ 108-102 loss Sunday to the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center. But he downplayed whether he returned too quickly.
“I was playing through adrenaline. Yesterday, I felt more pain once I settled down,” Young said. “But I wanted it. I kept telling myself that I think I can play. It wasn’t like an ACL injury where I had to sit out.”
Young then joked he didn’t have to spend the remaining trip on the bench because that would mean more interactions with his teammates.
“I wish I was in LA. I don’t want to see these guys no more,” Young said. “I can’t just be in Indiana just talking to these dudes.”
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