Bryant sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of Saturday’s win over Dallas and was unsure about his status for the Magic game, but Phil Jackson told reporters that the ankle was “much better” on Monday morning.
As is his custom, Bryant began rehabilitation of the ankle literally as soon as the game was over, even walking up and down the aisle of the team plane on the flight back to Dallas to work on range of motion.
Assistant coach Brian Shaw told us that if he had to guess, he’d say Bryant would play, citing the fact that … well … Bryant has played through more injuries than any player he knew, and had the “highest pain tolerance I’ve ever seen.”
Shaw said that the team is prepared to make some adjustments particularly on defense if, in fact, Bryant is unable to play. In that setting, Shannon Brown would likely start as he did when Bryant missed games last year, and the Lakers would have to adjust for Jason Richardson post ups of Brown up, which Orlando’s starting shooting guard would not often, if at all, attempt on Bryant.
Jackson may reveal whether or not Bryant will play for sure at his 6:15 pregame presser, otherwise we’ll literally have to see who’s on the line up card just prior to the game.