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Kobe shut down for preseason, Howard likely plays Thursday

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

ONTARIO, CA - OCTOBER 10: Kobe Bryant #24 (R) and Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk on the bench as they are both in street clothes for the game with the Portland Trail Blazers at Citizens Business Bank Arena on October 10, 2012 in Ontario, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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That sore foot of Kobe Bryant’s — the one that kept him out of the past couple practices and the Lakers latest preseason game — is now shutting him down for the rest of the preseason.

But expect to see Dwight Howard back in the Lakers final preseason game Thursday.

Kobe doesn’t really miss time — the guy has played with gnarled fingers — but said his foot was painful enough that he likely would have missed the Lakers game against the Clippers Wednesday even if it were the regular season. But since it’s the preseason, the Lakers are shutting him down until the season opener against Dallas next Tuesday, the team announced.

He injured the foot when it was stepped on Sunday against the Kings. He tried the whole “this is probably good because my body could use the rest” line, which may have some truth in it but is not really how Kobe’s mind works. Not when the games matter anyway.

Dwight Howard is not playing Wednesday night either, but he likely will play Thursday night when the Lakers travel to San Diego to face the Kings again. That’s a good matchup for him because DeMarcus Cousins will not make life easy for Howard.

So for those of you scoring at home, the healthiest Laker this preseason is Steve Nash, the 38-year-old with the chronic bad back.