Kobe Vows to Play Through Pain on X-Mas

Q: Kobe, are you going to play in Sunday’s season opener?
Bryant: “Yeah, I should be fine.”

There are several other questions floating around as the Lakers close up training camp heading into the X-Mas game against Chicago, but Kobe Bryant’s wrist is definitely the lead, even if Kobe’s “fine” isn’t exactly the way most of us would describe a torn ligament in one’s wrist.

He originally hurt himself on a hard fall in the third quarter of Monday’s first preseason game against the Clippers, though he did play through the fourth quarter, suggesting to many that things were all well and good.

However, that night, Bryant’s wrist swelled up considerably, the pain settling in steadily. He awoke to a slightly less swollen limb, and despite the pain, being Kobe, tried to play with it at practice. The discomfort was constant enough that Bryant took his first twoshots with his left hand; he realized that he had “something else going on.”

That something else, technically, was a torn lunotriquetral ligament. The immediate next step for Bryant was to go through a bevy of rehabilitation exercises with the team’s physical therapist, Dr. Judy Seto, which he’ll continue fervently until Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol jump tip.

“It’s a lot of stuff,” Bryant said. “Whatever we can to get the swelling out. Manual therapy, different strengthening exercises, range of motion.”

Of course, it’s not surprise that Bryant said he’d simply figure out a way to play through the injury. Derek Fisher went so far as to facetiously suggest that Kobe would just cut his wrist off, if need be, to get on the floor (think Ronnie Lott’s finger).

Kobe was less dramatic.

“It’s always been in my nature to try and figure out a way to play,” he explained. “The injuries that I’ve had – I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play through them. I haven’t had injuries where they could get worse the more I played on them.”

He’s torn plenty of ligaments and tendons, which simply “aren’t there any more.” He figures that means they can’t get any worse, and if he can just play through the pain, catch and pass the ball, he’ll be “fine.”

Mike Brown wasn’t up for declaring Kobe’s status yay or nay with two practice days still to go before Sunday, but he did cite a memory of his days coaching the Cavs.

“He popped one of his fingers out of place, and (John) Kuester was like, ‘Man, we might have a chance now,’” said Brown. “All (Kobe) did was pull it out, pop it back in and he continued playing. You talk about a guy with a high tolerance of pain.”

So, in short, nothing new here. Expect Kobe to play through the pain, once again.