Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni says he expects star guard Kobe Bryant to play before the NBA’s All-Star break that is scheduled from February 14-16. Bryant was voted in as a starter for the All-Star Game, but has said he doesn’t want to play because he thinks other players should get the chance to participate, since he has only played in six games this year.
Bryant will reportedly have his injured knee reevaluated next week, but he won’t have a full examination until the start of February. He claims his surgically repaired Achilles “feels great” and isn’t an issue anymore.
Bryant graciously stated that he thinks the NBA should replace him on the All-Star roster because other players have actually earned the honor this season while he has been out with injuries. He returned from the Achilles’ tendon injury on December 8 and suffered a fracture of the tibial plateau in his left knee on December 17. He has been out ever since.
D’Antoni says he expects Bryant to return before the All-Star break and if that happens he has no problem with his 35-year-old star participating in the All-Star Game.
Stephen Curry is the only player to receive more votes than Bryant for this year’s All-Star Game and says he is hoping Bryant suits up for the game.
Curry had the following to say about Bryant:
He’s made some comments before about the young guys and he is paving the way for young guys. It’s commendable, but if he is healthy I expect him to play and do his cameo experience. It would be really special to suit up alongside Kobe in an All-Star game.
But first Bryant has to get back into regular season games, and that’s not guaranteed to happen before the All-Star break, though his coach seems to think it will happen.