No word on if Bryant will play Friday
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff lives flashed in front of their collective eyes on Wednesday night in a loss to Atlanta, when Kobe Bryant’s game-tying attempt in the final seconds ended with him heaped on the floor with a severely sprained left ankle.
It remains to be seen if Bryant will be sidelined, but a person with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday afternoon that, “Kobe doesn’t look good, but with Kobe you never know.” The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the team wasn’t prepared to provide an update of the situation just yet.
The play on which Bryant was hurt, when he rose up from the right baseline with three seconds left and came down on the foot of Atlanta Hawks guard Dahntay Jones, sparked a debate about player safety that was largely fueled by Bryant’s twitter rant on the topic.
“#dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.”
“17yrs. Countless fades. This has happened TWICE. Jalen and Now Ankle still very swollen. Treatment all day (and he tweeted a picture of his ankle)”
“Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man”
“I have the utmost respect for @kobebryant I would never try to intentionally hurt him. Just wanted to contest the fadeaway #thatsall”
TNT analyst Charles Barkley, meanwhile, told USA TODAY Sports that he didn’t see it as a dirty play.
“I don’t think a guy in a two-point game in the last play of the game is making a conscious effort to say, ‘Let me try and hurt a guy,’” he said by phone. “It’s the last play of the game. I don’t think a guy’s mind works that fast. I mean he’s guarding Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s trying to go one on one. I don’t think in his mind that he’s computing the whole time, ‘If Kobe goes up, I’m going to go under his leg.’ I don’t think it was a dirty play. I think it’s just an unfortunate thing.”