Lakers push on despite injury bug

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The wear and tear of the 66-game lockout-compressed schedule is starting to take its toll on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant sat out shootaround Friday as the Lakers prepared for their game against the Houston Rockets, wearing a protective boot because of a left shin contusion. Bryant will play against the Rockets, however.

Ramon Sessions participated in shootaround but wore a pad to protect his sprained left shoulder, an injury he suffered in the first half against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Andrew Bynum ducked into the training room early, skipping the final free throw shooting portion of shootaround to receive treatment on his left ankle, which is still sore after he sprained it last Sunday.

Metta World Peace has a sore ankle. Pau Gasol is wearing a sleeve these days to cover his left elbow. Jordan Hill is still out with a sprained right knee.

Despite the rash of injuries, the Lakers are determined to push through them without missing major playing time.

"Unless something new comes up, I don't think any of them would be limited right now," said Lakers coach Mike Brown.

Sessions suffered a sprain to the acromioclavicular joint, commonly referred to as the AC joint, at the top of his left shoulder when he collided with the Clippers' Bobby Simmons in the second quarter of the Lakers' 113-108 win on Wednesday.

"I just dinged it a little bit," Sessions said. "Nothing major. Nothing that will affect anything. I just got a little extra cushion on there now just to be on the safe side."

Sessions is also playing with some discomfort in the index finger on his right hand and fiddled with tape connecting his right index finger to his right middle finger as he spoke to reporters.

"It's all right," Sessions said. "It's just jammed a little bit. It's been jammed since probably my third or fourth game here, but it's been something I've been working with, taping it up."

With the postseason just 11 games away and Bryant, Gasol and Bynum among the league leaders in minutes played, Brown hopes to find a way to ease the load for his core rotation down the stretch.

"Get some rest for the guys and also to try to get these other guys that haven't played a ton, get them some minutes on the floor," Brown said.

The Lakers are fairly entrenched in the No. 3 spot in the West, leading the No. 4 Clippers by two games and trailing the No. 2 Spurs by 4½ games.

"That's a fine line because you want to go into the playoffs sharp and since we're not practicing [because of the compressed schedule] we just have to be careful of how we do it," Brown said. "But, if we can get guys rest and not have them beat up going into the playoffs, then that's what we're going to do."

In an effort to build in some time for rest, the Lakers did not take the floor on Thursday after gathering the players at the practice facility. They simply had a short film session and players were free to go or receive treatment on their injuries.

"It's one of those things where it's the grind of the season," Sessions said. "You just have to be ready to go, get treatment when you can and be ready when the tip off starts."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.