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Kobe Bryant misses Thursday's practice for neck treatment

March 01, 2012|By Mark Medina

The Masked Mamba remained out of sight.

Kobe Bryant sat out Thursday's practice to receive treatment, just a day after posting a near triple-double against Minnesota while nursing neck pain and wearing a plastic mask to protect his swollen nose.

Coach Mike Brown said he didn't talk with Bryant about his condition. Nor did Bryant speak after practice with reporters. But it's safe to pencil in Bryant to play Friday against Sacramento.  It remains to be seen, however, how much more precaution Bryant must take to ensure he remains symptom free from a concussion he suffered Sunday after Miami guard Dwyane Wade delivered a hard foul in the NBA All-Star game.

Bryant passed a series of tests, including neurological, bicycle, agility and treadmill exams, as well as a game of two-on-two. He then made a fourth visit to neurologist Vern Williams an hour before Wednesday's game against Minnesota, receiving clearance. Vernon said Bryant experienced whiplash and Bryant has taken medication to treat a sore neck. Bryant often received neck massages from physical therapist Judy Seto when he sat on the bench. He wore bandages on his lower neck after the game. Bryant said afterward he'd play with the mask until his nose no longer was swollen. 

Brown still attempted to come to grips after Thursday's practice over how Bryant managed to play so well.

"I don't know if there's going to be anything that he does now that surprises me," Brown said. "In a way it's good and in a way it's sad. It's sad because he had a terrific performance last night especially with everything that happened. ... You try not to take it for granted because he's special with what he does out on the floor. In the same breath, he is Kobe. I'm kind of contradicting myself."


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