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Kobe Bryant injury: Was it a dirty play and when will he return?

March 15, 2013|By Houston Mitchell

Join Times Lakers writer Mike Bresnahan at 10 a.m. today for a live discussion on Kobe Bryant's ankle injury.

As Bresnahan wrote on Thursday:

"The debate raged around the NBA on Thursday as Kobe Bryant iced his severely sprained left ankle and mixed in some compression therapy to reduce swelling while he watched the movies "Django Unchained" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

"Was the play dirty, clean or somewhere in between?

"Bryant suggested he was injured Wednesday because Atlanta Hawks forward Dahntay Jones knowingly chose to "walk underneath" him while Bryant was coming down from an off-target 18-foot fadeaway in the final seconds of the Lakers' 96-92 loss to the Hawks.

"Bryant appeared to land on Jones' foot, stayed down for about a minute and soon after was declared out indefinitely by the Lakers.

"After the game Bryant said that referees and, in an indirect way, the league, "really need to protect shooters."

"The NBA said Thursday that a foul should have been called on the play and two free throws awarded to Bryant because he was not given "the opportunity to land cleanly back on the floor."

"If Bryant had been able to make the free throws, or if a Lakers player replacing him at the line was similarly successful, the game would have been tied at 94-94 with the Hawks facing about three seconds to win in regulation.

"Instead, the Lakers fouled Kyle Korver with 2.6 seconds left and he made both free throws for a four-point lead. The referees were Monty McCutchen, Pat Fraher and Tony Brown.

"Jones said he was not trying to hurt Bryant, adding that Bryant brought on the contact himself by kicking out his leg in the air.

"Others weren't so sure.

"It's not a clean play. It's a dirty play," Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson said in a radio interview, according to ESPN 710."

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