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Kobe Bryant says his finger is OK and he plans to play Sunday

Bryant, who suffered a sprained right pinkie during Friday's victory over Philadelphia, receives treatment for the injury and is confident he'll be good to go in Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors.

December 18, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Toronto — Kobe Bryant sat on the training table, a smile on his face, his right pinkie taped, an electric stimulus device connected to the finger he had sprained Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Before he could be asked a question, Bryant blurted out:

"Finger is fine."

Bryant then chuckled and smiled after he was asked whether he would play Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.

"You think I'm going to miss a game for a pinkie?" Bryant asked.

Bryant struggled with his shot against the 76ers, going three-for-11 and scoring nine points, a season low.

"It's an issue," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said about Bryant's finger. "It's going to be an issue for a while."

Smith might play Sunday

It's possible that newly acquired forward Joe Smith will play soon for the Lakers, maybe as soon as Sunday.

Smith went through his first practice Saturday since the three-team trade Tuesday in which he came from New Jersey and Sasha Vujacic went to the Nets.

"We tried to get Joe through something so he could feel comfortable about playing and I can feel comfortable playing him," Jackson said.

Smith is a 16-year veteran who is learning the triangle offense on the fly.

"He's been through a lot of systems," Jackson said. "He'll be fine. It's just getting him acclimated to what's basically what we do."

The 6-foot-10 Smith has the ability to make the 15- to 18-foot jumper, which could benefit the Lakers.

"We have a lot of hypothetical things that he can do," Jackson said. "It depends on how much we need him. At least he'll be there to do some things. We'll look at some matchup situations that might come down in future times.

"He gives us a more mobile, active guy that's got range up to 20 feet. He's been a good offensive rebounder. He knows how to get around the court a little bit."

Jackson supports Odom's All-Star candidacy

Even though he's not allowed to vote for his own players for the All-Star game, Jackson is supportive of Lamar Odom's desire to be on the Western Conference team.

"I think Lamar definitely deserves to be an All-Star," Jackson said. "Having played USA Basketball [winning a gold medal at the world championships] and being on [an NBA] championship team a couple of times now, all those things . . . people knowing what skills that he has as a player, he deserves it."

Coaches vote on the All-Star reserves, but Jackson said he won't campaign to other coaches to vote for Odom.

But Jackson has an idea who should help Odom garner more votes.

"Well, the Kardashians should put it out and then he'd be fine," Jackson said, smiling. "They could say, 'Get online and vote for LO.'"

Jackson was referring to Odom's wife, Khloe Kardashian, whose family's reality-TV show, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," is big on social networking sites.

Odom ranked seventh among Western Conference forwards in the first All-Star balloting released Thursday, getting 134,594 votes.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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