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Byron Scott expects Kobe Bryant to play vs. Celtics on Sunday

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said Friday that he expects superstar Kobe Bryant to play on Sunday in the team’s matchup with the Boston Celtics at Staples Center.

“The good thing is he got two days off -- or three days, really,” Scott said. “I expect him to play [on Sunday] until I hear differently. I won’t even contact him until tomorrow to see how he’s feeling.”

Bryant, who played about nine minutes in Wednesday’s 102-100 victory over the Miami Heat, has endured sporadic pain lately, putting his playing status in constant jeopardy.

“When he comes out and he says, ‘Coach, I can’t move,’ or, ‘I’m hurting,’ you know he’s really hurting for him to have to say that,” Scott said. “I knew right then. I said, ‘Hey, let’s shut it down.’ He had yesterday and today [off], and we’ll give him another day tomorrow [off] and I’ll try to get in contact with him and see how he feels and then we’ll go from there.”

If Bryant plays Sunday, there isn’t expected to be a minutes restriction, Scott said.

Bryant, 37, has resisted the idea of playing fewer minutes so he can play in all seven of the Lakers’ remaining games, and would prefer to not have to sit out a game again.

“If he plays, he wants to play,” Scott said. “He loves that competition. He loves competing at the highest level. The last game of playing eight, nine minutes didn’t sit well with him, but what else can he do when he can’t play? He wants to go out there and play as much as he can and play every game.

“But sometimes that might not be able to happen because of the way he feels. Again, we’re going to take it game by game and see how he feels, and if he can play 28 to 29 to 27 minutes, whatever the case may be, that’s what he’ll play.”

Ultimately, Bryant’s status will be determined before tip-off, as it often has been in his 20th and final season.

“I sense that he wants to just try to play all seven of these games,” Scott said. “We haven’t put a minute restriction or anything like that. He wants to just play, and if he can, I’m sure he will.”