Coach Jackson addressed the status of injured forward Vladimir Radmanovic before tonight’s game, noting that “the possibility of him playing next week is good.” Sasha Vujacic, out with an ankle sprain, is struggling according to Jackson. However, the coach did say that Sasha’s physical therapist reminded him that it has only been eight days and bad sprains typically take at least two weeks to heal.
Jackson also spoke about Kobe’s decrease in scoring for the second season in a row in addition to a reduction in his minutes. Jackson said Bryant’s role as a scorer changes depending on the team’s needs on a given night. “I think that it’s game-by-game. It’s how well we’re playing as a group and how well we’re shooting the basketball,” said Jackson. The coach also said that Kobe’s decrease in minutes should bode well for the team later in the season and in grind-it-out type games.
Lastly, Jackson said he was pleased with the team’s current two-man combo at small forward with both Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza splitting minutes at the position. By not playing 30-35 minutes a night anymore, Jackson said that Walton is able to conserve his energy and significantly reduce his injury risk.