Phil Jackson offered an anecdote from Saturday night’s 112-103 double overtime victory in Sacramento that explained how Kobe Bryant feels about coming out of basketball games, no matter what the injury.
“At one time, I asked (Head Athletic Trainer) Gary Vitti to check with him in a time out,” said Jackson. “He came back and said, ‘If I tell you that he can’t play, he’s going to break my arm.’”
Bryant, who had essentially been playing with his left hand before nailing back-to-back three-pointers in the second overtime, eventually figured out how to adjust his shot to the pain.
“I thought he could play through it and help the team, and that was the important part,” said Jackson. “Pain is an inhibitor, and your body will react through the pain. He’s a guy that’s capable of doing that.”
Bryant didn’t go into as much detail.
“The elbow’s fine … next question,” said Bryant before reporters even had a chance to ask. “It’s not like a lingering thing, just a stinger that will go away.”
Kobe concluded that he doesn’t expect the elbow (or his finger, or knee) to inhibit him when the Lakers face the Suns on Monday night in Phoenix.