The towel draped over Kobe Bryant’s head as he sat on the bench featuring a lifeless stare. He labored as he went up and down the court, each shot that misfired sparking more head scratches that endlessly itched. But Bryant still kept plugging away, eager that he could reverse a poor game on the instant of one clutch basket as he always has done.
This night, it did not happen.
The Lakers ended their Friday with a 93-80 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center, sparking new questions beyond the team’s worst start since the 1957-58 season in Minneapolis. The main concern rested on Bryant, whose nine-point performance on 1-of-14 shooting represented his lowest marks since shooting only 1-of-8 on Feb. 12, 2013 against Phoenix.
“He wasn’t feeling too well. I don’t know what it is,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t know if it’s a cold. I don’t know to be honest with you. But I know he’s not feeling well.”
That hardly sounded like good news for a player who only played six games last season because of injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee. But as soon as the question was asked, Scott soon clarified that it’s “nothing physically. Just not feeling well. Physically, as far as a knee, elbow or Achilles? No, nothing like that.”
Instead, Bryant was nursing what the Lakers said is a probable viral infection.
“He’s in the training room right now, and he doesn’t look good,” Lakers guard Jeremy Lin said. “I just got out of there, and he doesn’t look good at all.”