Kobe Bryant plans to play in the Los Angeles Lakers’ season opener against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday despite a torn ligament in his right wrist.
Bryant suffered the injury during a pre-season game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and was initially considered “day-to-day” by the Lakers.
While the two-times NBA Finals MVP was left out of Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, he played a full role in team practice on Friday at their El Segundo training facility.
“It’s just getting used to it,” Bryant told reporters. “I’ve just really ignored it. You’ve just got to go out there and play your game, just not think about it as much. I try to block it out.
“It’s always been in my nature to try to figure out a way to play. I’ve still got a couple of days before the game.”
The 33-year-old conceded he had made a few adjustments to his ball handling and shooting, adding that he would probably shoot right-handed on Sunday.
“It depends on the severity of it,” said Bryant, who has guided the Lakers to five championships.
“The fingers are a little bit more complicated because that’s the last point of contact with the ball. But I’ve dealt with so many hand injuries I should be all right.”
Much is new about the Lakers this season with Mike Brown replacing the retired Phil Jackson as coach and disgruntled forward Lamar Odom, the league’s best bench player last season, having been traded to NBA champions Dallas.
The Lakers will also be without Andrew Bynum for their first four games while the seven-foot (2.13 metres) center serves a suspension imposed on him at the end of last season.
“We are working hard and we are getting things down in terms of what he (Brown) wants to see from us defensively execution-wise,” Bryant said.
“He’s very particular about that kind of stuff. It’s a work in progress for it to become a habit but we are getting there.”
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