In an interview with Time Warner SportsNet before the game, here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say about the left ankle that’s kept him out of the last 11 quarters of Lakers basketball and more:
Q: On how the ankle is feeling:
Bryant: It’s much better. Obviously I can move around freely (without stiffness). In (Thursday’s) practice I felt like I could do everything I wanted to do. As practice went on I started to think about it a little bit, went in the back and iced it down. But today I should be OK.
Q: On the team getting Pau Gasol back as well, and what that can do for the team:
Bryant: We all know what he means to this team and the significance he adds – we have a little more stability to be able to add a weapon to what we do, to feature him, play to his strengths. (He) can make us all better.
Q: On Dwight Howard’s emergence since the All-Star break:
Bryant: I think he’s comfortable with the pressure that we have in terms of winning the championship – he understands that challenge and seems all for it.
Q: On developing some cohesion after a year littered with injuries, with most everybody back now:
Bryant: I think we just have to find that rhythm again – we’ve been able to find it in patches with guys being out, guys being shuffled in and out of the line up.
Q: On having no excuses for the ankle now that he’s on the floor:
Bryant: I draw a quote from the Oz movie that just came out: “Show up, keep up, Shut up.” If I’m here, it’s game time.