Kobe sits out against Denver, Bynum plans to return at start of playoffs

Kobe Bryant is inactive for tonight's game in Denver, with Sasha Vujacic taking his place in the starting lineup. The official explanation from the Media Relations Department is "right knee swelling." Specifics beyond that weren't readily available.

Before the game, Phil Jackson said he'd consider resting players before the playoffs in order to have the roster as fresh as possible. He also felt Kobe's legs - unrelated to the earlier season ankle injury- were the chief issue with his recent shooting struggles, as opposed to the fractured finger. Guess he was offering everyone to read between the lines.

More on this situation as information surfaces.

On a related note, Andrew Bynum doesn't expect to appear in the remaining four games of the regular season, but has targeted the first game of the opening round as his return date. He's currently out with a left Achilles strain.