Kobe Bryant, who snapped his streak of 138 straight regular season games played on Saturday at Phoenix, will miss a second consecutive contest on Monday at New Orleans due to tenosynovitis of the shin.
Tenosynovitis is brought on when a tendon sheath becomes inflamed, which causes pain whenever the tendon slides in or out of the sheath.
Bryant first hurt the shin against the Hornets last Saturday (3/31), but played through the injury for three more games until finally shutting it down after limping through the team’s Friday night loss to Houston (4/6).
“It’s very painful,” said Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti. “(Kobe)’s been playing with this and it’s not getting any better. The only way to stop it is to shut him down. That’s why we put him in a boot.”
The bright side to Bryant’s injury is that it’s not considered a long-term problem, and he finally gets some much-needed general rest to a body that has played 38.5 minutes per game in season, among the NBA leaders all year.
Having not played since Friday, Bryant would get a minimum of four days off were he to play on Wednesday at San Antonio, or six days should he be out at the Spurs and return for Friday’s home game vs. Denver.
The Lakers are a half game up on the Clippers for the third seed in the Western Conference with the two road games at New Orleans and San Antonio on the horizon, while Chris Paul and Co.’s next two games are at Memphis and Oklahoma City.
Devin Ebanks is expected to get his second straight start in Kobe’s absence so that Mike Brown can keep his bench rotation as is. Ebanks scored a season-high 12 points against Phoenix.