By J.A. Adande
After Kobe Bryant missed 15 of 20 shots and came out with two minutes remaining in the Los Angeles Lakers' 101-91 loss to the Houston Rockets Sunday night, Lakers coach Phil Jackson revealed that Bryant has a groin injury.
Officially the Lakers are calling it a strained right groin muscle and list him as day-to-day. The best treatment for groin injuries is rest, but when I asked Bryant if he would sit out any games to speed the recovery he said, "Absolutely not." Well, he used some more colorful language before that, but the point was made clear.
"Not an option," he said, despite wincing as he pulled on a pair of workout shorts.
Bryant said he first injured it at the beginning of the game against New Orleans on Nov. 8, then tweaked it again Sunday night. He made 11 of 21 shots that game and 13 of 21 against Phoenix last Thursday, but was 7 for 17 in a loss at Denver on Friday.
It might seem convenient to let the word of the injury get out now after two poor shooting games and the Lakers' first back-to-back losses of the season. In fairness, after the game a Rockets coach asked me what was wrong with Bryant and said his gait was noticeably different.
The Lakers have a busy stretch ahead with four home games in seven days , beginning Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons.
It's worth noting that the Lakers' top two scorers -- Bryant and Gasol -- had also been their busiest participants in international competition and now both are suffering from wear-and-tear injuries. Gasol, who played for the Spanish national team the past two summers, has yet to play this season because of a right hamstring strain. Bryant took this summer off, but played for Team USA the previous two summers.