Bryant Vows to Play Through Pain

Kobe Bryant tends to use injuries for motivation, crafting ways to play through various ailments, as he did on Friday evening against Minnesota with a sore left ankle.

But in the fourth quarter of L.A.’s 106-98 win, Bryant took a hit to the jaw from the head of Martell Webster, his neck snapping backwards from the contact.

He made it through the rest of the game, scoring 18 points with a team-high five assists, but took nearly an hour after the contest to work on the neck and ankle before emerging to speak with reporters.

“My jaw is fine,” he said. “It was just that my neck snapped back. My neck is pretty stiff right now.”

Bryant was anything but pleased with his situation in the locker room, wearing a frown as he described how angry he was to be unable to turn his head. Yet, of course, he said he wouldn’t be missing any game action.

“I’ll be ready for sure, I promise you that,” Bryant said of Sunday’s game against Portland. “I’ll be more than ready.”