Nearly 24 hours has passed, and Lakers coach Byron Scott still has not touched base with Kobe Bryant on how his right shoulder feels. That left Scott uncertain about Bryant’s playing status when the Lakers (13-51) host the Orlando Magic (27-35) on Tuesday at Staples Center.
“Right now I would say it’s 50-50,” Scott said. “But I have to talk to him before I can validate that.”
Bryant posted 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting in 24 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win against Golden State. Afterwards, Bryant described his right shoulder as “sore” and admitted uncertainty if he could play in all of the Lakers’ 18 remaining games.
After all, Bryant had missed three of the previous four contests. After missing home games against Memphis and Orlando, Bryant logged 11 minutes in his last game in Denver before sitting out the second half. Bryant then skipped last Friday’s home game against Atlanta.
Considering the never-ending guessing game on Bryant’s return, have the Lakers considered mapping out selectively which games to skip?
“That’s not in the cards. We haven’t talked about doing anything like that,” Scott said. “It’s based on how it feels. If it feels pretty good where he can play, then we go with it. If he says it’s really bothering him, then obviously we’re not going to force him to play games where his shoulder is really bothering him.”
Scott then outlined the “main objective” Bryant hopes to accomplish in his 20th and final NBA season.
“To get him through April 13,” Scott said, referring to the Lakers’ season-finale against Utah at Staples Center. “I want to get him as healthy as he possibly can be healthy.”
Meanwhile, Scott reported that veteran guard Lou Williams could return as early as Sunday against New York at Staples Center after staying sidelined the past week with a strained left hamstring. Scott wants Williams to complete at least one full practice before returning.