Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant turned his ankle in Game 4 of Los Angeles' first round series with the New Orleans Hornets. Even though he was able to play in Games 5 and 6 -- scoring 19 points and 24 points in the back-to-back wins -- Lakers coach Phil Jackson told the Los Angeles Times that the ankle will still be an issue heading into the team's second round series with the Dallas Mavericks. Game 1 against Dallas is set for Monday.
"It still affects him a lot," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant, who sat out of Saturday's practice. "This is not going to go away anytime soon so we're just going to have to be close to what he's doing and monitor it a lot. He'll have a limited amount of practice time and it's something he'll have to do."
""It's tender to the touch still," Jackson said of Bryant. "He's still limping when he walks. It's a limied amount of improvement."Bryant, for his part, maintains that he is "fine".
The good news for Bryant and the Lakers is that the Mavericks do not have a dynamic, athletic presence in their starting backcourt. Jason Kidd and DeShawn Stevenson just aren't the type of players who can regularly exploit Bryant in his limited capacity by beating him off the dribble or pushing the tempo hard.
If there is a concern, it will likely be Mavericks reserve guard Jason Terry, who is significantly shorter than Bryant and quick off the dribble. Terry is an all-around offensive threat and will continue to serve as Dallas' closer. He will represent a tough cover for either Bryant or veteran point guard Derek Fisher.
Here's video of Bryant's injury.