Kobe Bryant, who has a shoulder issue, missed the Los Angeles Lakers' last game, a loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday. However, Bryant was able to practice Friday and is expected to start today's game. The Lakers will take on the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles at 10:30 PM EST, and Bryant will see if he can play through the shoulder injury.
The injury originally happened when Bryant dunked over Antawn Jamison in practice on Tuesday. He was diagnosed with a strain and missed Wednesday's game. However, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles says Lakers' coach Mike Brown felt Bryant did enough to earn the start today. Bryant also indicated that his shoulder was doing better.
"It's good," Bryant said of the shoulder. "It's strong."The Lakers guard recently told the media that he intended to retire after two more seasons in the NBA. His health was not a reason he cited for the decision, but Bryant has played in 16 NBA seasons and has battled his fair share of injuries. He is entering his 17th season and is 34 years old.
The new-look Lakers are looking to bounce-back from a disappointing showing in the playoffs last season. Kobe Bryant is looking to earn his sixth NBA title and match Michael Jordan. While the shoulder injury does not seem serious, if it lingers it could affect the Lakers chances this season. It will be something Bryant and the team will want to keep a close eye on.
Bryant averaged 27.9 points per game last season. It was his highest total since the 2007-08 season in which he averaged 28.3 points per game. The increased scoring last year was due in large part to the team around him. Bryant, it seemed, felt he had to carry the team in every game. He took an average of 23 shots per game which was his highest average since the 2005-06 season.