Kobe says ’85%’ chance he’ll play tonight
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant said at Los Angeles Lakers shootaround Tuesday morning that the odds he’ll play in the season opener tonight against the visiting Dallas Mavericks are “85%.” But he left open the possibility that he will sit out.
The Lakers shooting guard strained his right foot and suffered a contusion Oct. 21 and didn’t play in the final two preseason games.
Considering his reputation for playing through severe pain so many times, Bryant would surprise no one by suiting up for the highly-anticipated debut with new teammates Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
Bryant has missed four season openers in his 16-year career. He participated fully in Tuesday’s practice after missing the last two workouts.
“I did everything (at shootaround), but it’s a matter of how sore it gets from now until I get to Staples,” Bryant said of the 7:30 p.m. ET tipoff.
“Of course I want to play. We put together a great roster here, and I worked real hard this summer to get myself in tip-top shape and be ready to go. I’m not going to play with an injury that’s going to get progressively worse and just limp through the season. I worked too hard for that.
“Since last night, there’s substantially less pain,” he said. “The strength has gotten better. The more I ran today, the better it got. So that’s very encouraging. Now I’m just waiting to see how it feels from now until I get to Staples.”