Just before Thursday evening’s tip off in Denver, we learned that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant would not play against the Nuggets.
He will officially be listed as out with “right knee swelling,” according to the Lakers’ PR staff.
Phil Jackson had suggested before the game that certain players might be rested at various points of the team’s final five games, but did not reveal that he’d keep Bryant on the shelf. Jackson did, however, suggest that he’d like to get Bryant some additional rest for his legs heading into the playoffs.
The Lakers essentially have the Western Conference locked up with a 4.5-game lead over both Denver and Dallas (basically need one win or one loss from DEN/DAL) and hold a 0.5-game lead over Orlando for the No. 2 overall seed behind Orlando.
Starting in Bryant’s place was Sasha Vujacic.