Bryant has often played well when ill
Kobe Bryant has played through injury or illness in much more dramatic circumstances such as the playoffs, so it's silly to think his latest ailment would force him to miss a game.
As expected, Bryant was given the day off Saturday to recuperate from the upper respiratory infection that he played through Friday night. Coach Phil Jackson said it is not as serious as first thought, and Bryant is listed as probable for tonight's game against Memphis.
"It's not something that's an extremely high fever," Jackson said. "He was supposedly febrile."
Bryant had dizziness, nausea and headaches during Friday's game and was visibly hurting afterward. He coughed into his hand and spoke softly when he met with reporters after his 37-point performance helped the Lakers defeat Milwaukee.
Bryant has a history of playing through illnesses. He famously played Game 1 of the 2002 Western Conference finals against Sacramento with food poisoning from a hotel bacon cheeseburger.
In a 2006 game against New Jersey, a sick Bryant had 21 points and 11 assists to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Nets. Last month he fought stomach flu and scored 20 points to help the Lakers beat Minnesota.
Bryant has said illness forces him to concentrate more intensely on the court. Jackson and other players agreed that sickness does help in that way.
"I think energy wise, it's just a matter of focus," Jackson said. "Personally, for myself, it's 'do what you have to do.' "
Said Ronny Turiaf, "You don't think about it. You think about playing. That's what he does. I'm not surprised he went out there and played like he did. I wish he was sick more often."
FOOTWORK NEEDS WORK
Kwame Brown's pretty spin move would have made the highlight reel Friday only if Brown didn't miss the shot. Brown is seven games into his return from sprained ankle and knee injuries and is trying to regain his footwork.
"I've got to get my rhythm back and my pop is not there," Brown said. "When I turn out of my moves and my spins, I'm a little bit off balance."
Brown will probably be somewhat limited the rest of the season, but the Lakers don't rely on him as much since the emergence of Andrew Bynum.
Brown, who averaged more than 24 minutes in his first six games of the season, has played more than 19 minutes once since his return. He played 10:40 on Friday, his fewest minutes this season when he has been healthy.
"I'm going to have to get a bike out there or something to get warmed up before the game," Brown said. "It's just for 12 minutes. It's kind of hard to adjust to."
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