Veteran Los Angeles Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant played 12 minutes Friday at Indiana, missed all four shots and then went to the bench for good. It was all his severely sprained left ankle could take.
Bryant spent two days trying to fight his way back after landing on the foot of Atlanta’s Dahntay Jones in the waning seconds of Wednesday’s loss at Atlanta. Throughout the day, he looked better and after going through warm-ups, the Lakers put Bryant in the starting lineup.
He wasn’t the same. His four shots all came up short and when he went to the bench at the end of the first quarter, he never returned. It was only the 15th time in Bryant’s 17-year NBA career he was held scoreless in a game.
Before the game, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he wanted Bryant to warm up and see how he felt before making the decision. He also wanted Bryant to be cleared by the team’s medical staff.
Apparently, Bryant, who did a light workout earlier in the day, passed all the tests. He has not missed a game since the 2009-10 season.
Asked during a pregame news conference whether his gut feeling was that Bryant would play, D’Antoni said, “Yeah.”
Bryant has had round-the-clock treatment since Wednesday night.
The fact that Bryant played at all wasn’t a total surprise to the Lakers.
“He’s better, a lot better, so he’s got a chance we’ll see,” D’Antoni said before the decision was made. “He is 34 years old and has played 17 years in the NBA, so he has to know whether he can play or not. He’ll know, he’ll know.”
Bryant did not speak to reporters after the morning shootaround or before the game. Instead, he spent his time getting treatment for what he had called the worst sprained ankle of his career.
Knicks retain Martin
The New York Knicks signed veteran forward Kenyon Martin for the remainder of the season.
The Knicks announced the move Friday after the expiration of Martin’s second 10-day contract. He didn’t play much during the first one after joining the team on Feb. 23, but has become more of a contributor after a rash of injuries.
The former No. 1 overall pick made his first start for the Knicks on Thursday at Portland, scoring a season-high 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He is averaging 5.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in six games.
Clippers pick up Summers
The Los Angeles Clippers signed forward DaJuan Summers to a 10-day contract.
He averaged 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s D-League this season.
Summers played in 81 games for Detroit and New Orleans from 2009-12 after being the 35th overall pick in the NBA draft as an early entry candidate out of Georgetown. He averaged 3.4 points and 1.0 rebounds in those games.