Kobe Bryant plays in Lakers' loss after trainer pops finger back in

LOS ANGELES -- Lakers star Kobe Bryant suffered a dislocated right middle finger late in Friday's 119-113 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center but returned to play.

X-rays after the game came back negative, a Lakers spokesman said. Bryant said he expects to play in the Lakers' next game, Sunday against the Bulls in Chicago, his final game in the city where his idol Michael Jordan starred.

"Yeah, as far as I know, yeah," said Bryant, who finished with 25 points on 10-of-25 shooting in his final game against the Spurs. "[It] will be interesting to see how this responds [Saturday], but it's not fractured or anything."

The 37-year-old Bryant, whose previous three seasons were cut short by injury, dislocated the finger with a little more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter after chasing a rebound on a missed 3-point jumper.

Bryant said he slipped on the wet floor and put his right hand out to catch himself, "but I couldn't spread my palm fast enough, so my finger just jammed right into the floor and it just popped right out."

Bryant said he wasn't sure whether his finger could be popped back into place because "it wasn't a straight dislocation. It was out and to the side. It was kind of [shaped] like an S."

But Bryant went to the Lakers' bench, where longtime trainer Gary Vitti immediately popped the finger back into place. Bryant remained in the game, sinking his next shot, a 9-foot jumper.

"He's a tough hombre," Lakers coach Byron Scott said.

Vitti is in his 32nd season with the Lakers and, like Bryant, is retiring after this season.

"We find these things extremely funny," Bryant said of himself and Vitti. "Maybe it's just really weird or whatever, but we find these things extremely funny. I go to the bench, and he goes, 'Ah, yeah. That's a good one.' I go, 'No s---. Do something about it.' And he pops it back in place, and we just kind of laugh about it.

"He's known me for many years. He knows I'm going to go back in the game. But we laugh and we joke about it. We've seen it all. We've absolutely seen it all. It was fun to have that moment. Hopefully it's the last one we have this season. But it's fun to have that."

Longtime rival Tim Duncan, who was facing Bryant for the final time, said the finger episode was "him in a nutshell."

"We've played against each other for many years, and it's been great," Duncan said. "It's always a great game when you're playing against him. You always know you have to bring your A-game, because he's going to bring the best out of you.

"He's been a great competitor over the years, and he showed it tonight. He dislocated his finger in the last quarter, but he was still out there. He wants to play."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.