Kobe Bryant was apparently kicked on the foot during Sunday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings which left the foot with enough soreness that Bryant missed Tuesday’s practice. The pain is still “pretty high” according to Kobe and is now leaning towards not playing against the Clippers on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, teammate Dwight Howard is also battling soreness on his surgically repaired back after posting impressive numbers against the Kings in his first game in purple and gold. Howard played nearly 33 minutes last Sunday. But unlike Bryant, Howard did participate in some drills except full-scrimmages.
At this point, it may be wise for Kobe to sit out the final 2 pre-season games. He surely doesn’t need conditioning since participating in the Olympics in London this past summer. Sure, offensive flow might suffer but that’s nothing practice or regular season games can’t fix. Besides, his perfect over-the-shoulder lob pass to Howard for a two-handed dunk says those two don’t need much time to jell.
However, Howard needs to get as much in-game burn as possible to get all of those cobwebs out as possible by opening night. But if the soreness is really keeping him off the floor, then he might as well take the night off.
On the bright side, Jordan Hill could return to action on Wednesday after being diagnosed with a herniated disk the day after the first exhibition game against the Golden State Warriors in Fresno, California. Since then, Hill has been working on core strengthening drills to rehabilitate his back.
Jordan’s return should help alleviate some of the bench’s difficulties in terms of defense, rebounding and hopefully, some offense in the paint.