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Bryant hyperextends knee, is day-to-day

October 22, 2008|Mike Bresnahan and Mike Bresnahan Times Staff Writer | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

SAN DIEGO — Kobe Bryant has experienced just about every injury in a pro career spanning 37,519 minutes, but this was a new one.

Bryant sustained a hyperextended right knee and was listed as day-to-day after banging knees with Lakers forward Josh Powell in the second quarter of Tuesday's 102-98 exhibition victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Bryant was injured while going for a rebound off Sun Yue's missed shot from the wing. Bryant bumped into Powell, his knee was hyperextended and he landed off balance.

Bryant immediately signaled to the bench that he was injured, and a timeout was called with 3:08 left in the second quarter. He walked over and sat at the end of the bench for a few moments before heading to the locker room under his own power, with trainer Gary Vitti closely behind.

Bryant did not return for the second half and will be re-evaluated today. The injury is not considered serious, and an MRI exam is not scheduled for today unless he wakes up and experiences pain.

"We'll see how it feels [today]. It's sore," Bryant said in a brief interview before ducking into a dark sports utility vehicle that was waiting in the Sports Arena loading dock.

An hour earlier, Bryant expressed relief to teammates upon realizing the injury wasn't serious. He told some he had never experienced the feeling of a hyperextended knee and initially feared it to be worse.

Veteran Derek Fisher, who knows a thing or two about Bryant's pain tolerance, said he expected Bryant to play in the Lakers' season opener next Tuesday against Portland.

"He'll be fine," Fisher said.

Bryant, who had four points on two-for-four shooting, might sit out the Lakers' rematch against Charlotte in Anaheim on Thursday. The Lakers conclude the preseason Friday in Ontario against Oklahoma City.

Andrew Bynum had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists against Charlotte in his most complete game of the exhibition season. Jordan Farmar was again a spark as a reserve, scoring 17 points in 22 minutes.


Prediction time

This time, the Lakers will defeat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

At least, that's what NBA general managers would envision based on an annual survey to be released today.

Almost half the general managers -- 46% -- predicted the Lakers would win the championship, while 19% picked the Celtics and 12% picked New Orleans. San Antonio received 8% of the vote and was not the preseason favorite for the first time in five years.

The survey was not without its surprises.

If the general managers are correct, Cleveland forward LeBron James will dethrone Bryant as the league MVP. James received 56% of the vote, Bryant received 37%, and New Orleans guard Chris Paul was a distant third with 7%.

Bryant, however, received 89% of the vote when general managers were asked which player they would want taking a shot with the game on the line. It was the seventh consecutive season in which Bryant received the most votes in the category.

Big things were also predicted for Bynum, who received the highest percentage of votes (19%) for the player most likely to have a breakout season.


The fifth Laker

It looks more and more as if Vladimir Radmanovic will be the regular-season starter at small forward.

Jackson likes the idea of a shooter who can stretch the defense, and Radmanovic fits the bill more than Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza.

Radmanovic has averaged eight points while starting the last four exhibition games, though he has made only three of 13 three-point attempts (23.1%) in the same span.

Radmanovic played Tuesday with a soft splint on the middle finger of his left hand. He sprained the finger in Sunday's game against Toronto.


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