Kobe Bryant's Achilles woes force early departure

SALT LAKE CITY -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant left Saturday night’s 109-82 loss to the Utah Jazz with a sore right Achilles and did not return. He finished with five points on 2-of-8 shooting in 15 minutes. All of his points came in the first half.

The 37-year-old Bryant, who says he is retiring this summer after his 20th season, said he “jammed” his Achilles on a turnaround shot early in the game.

“Jammed it up pretty good,” he said. “Couldn’t shake it loose.”

Bryant said he would “give it my best shot” to play Sunday against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

Longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti had recently suggested Bryant be “shut down” for up to two weeks to rest his Achilles, which has been nagging Bryant lately and led to his sitting out of several recent games.

Before Saturday’s game, Bryant said, “taking two weeks off is not on the menu.”

After the game, Bryant stuck by his comment.

“Two weeks is a long time,” Bryant said. “It doesn’t feel like a two-week injury. I’ve had those before. It doesn’t feel that way.”

With his Achilles issues, Bryant said he has had to compensate during games.

"Try to play a little more flat-footed, try not to go to the basket as much and hope the jump shot is falling so you don’t have to penetrate as much,” he said.

Bryant ruptured his left Achilles in April 2013.