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NBA : LAKERS FYI

Swelling in injured knee keeps Bryant sidelined

Lakers 88, Charlotte 77

October 24, 2008|Broderick Turner | Turner is a Times staff writer.

Kobe Bryant lifted weights and took some shots Thursday morning, all with the intention of playing that night in an exhibition game against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Honda Center.

But Bryant experienced swelling in his hyperextended right knee and decided against playing.

Bryant was injured Tuesday night against the Bobcats. Bryant said if the swelling goes down, he might play tonight in the Lakers' final exhibition game in Ontario against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bryant said he'll definitely be ready for the start of the regular season Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.

"I've got a little bit of puffiness in the back of the knee, which was just from the trauma of landing the way I landed," Bryant said. "So we're just going to knock that out, make sure the swelling is out of there, which it should be soon, then I'm OK."

Bryant still hasn't had an MRI exam on the knee to determine the severity of it and sounded as if he won't get one.

"If I can run, if I can jump, if I can do lunges, if I can do leg curls, if I can do leg extensions, chances are there probably is no structural damage," Bryant said. "If I don't have to walk with more of a bop than I normally walk with, it's fine. So, I'm good. No need of wasting their money."

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wants to be more cautious.

"Tomorrow, if it's not any better at that time, then I think we have to do some diagnostic [test] and see what it is," Jackson said.

Bryant was injured in the second quarter Tuesday when he banged into teammate Josh Powell.

"After seeing the injury on TV, I'm surprised it's not worse, to be honest with you," Bryant said. "That thing didn't look too good."

At Thursday night's game, Bryant sat on the baseline near the Lakers' bench wearing a black and gray argyle sweater and blue jeans.

He encouraged Trevor Ariza, who started at guard in place of Bryant, and the rest of his teammates in the Lakers' 88-77 victory over Charlotte.

Injury update

Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic didn't play Thursday because of an injured left ankle, but the guard said he hoped to play in his first exhibition game of the season tonight. . . . Powell didn't play because of a strained left hamstring suffered during Wednesday's practice. Powell is listed as day to day.

Instant replay

Jackson says the expanded use of instant replay by referees that the NBA Board of Governors approved for this season will be "fraught with technical details." Officials will be allowed to use instant replay to determine whether a shot was a two- or three-pointer, to award the correct number of free throws on the shot and if a shooter was fouled while taking a two- or three-pointer.

"I think that the coaches can probably influence it," Jackson said.

If the game clock malfunctions in the final seconds of a quarter or overtime, officials can use replays to better determine how much time should have come off the clock or if the quarter should have ended.

Etc.

It figured the game would start about 15 minutes late, considering the Lakers arrived to the arena 30 minutes late.

The officials held up the game while one of the nets was taped to the north rim.

The Lakers were late because of traffic coming from their training facility in El Segundo to Anaheim and because some players were late arriving for the bus.

"It's hard to believe that you'd have guys late when we only had practice from noon until 4:30," Jackson said. "They only had to walk from our facility to the bus, 100 feet." . . . Rookie Sun Yue scored for the first time during the exhibition season, three points, all on free throws. . . . Coby Karl, still working to earn a roster spot, had eight points on four-for-seven shooting.

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broderick.turner@latimes.com

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