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Kobe tweaks ankle, stays in game, expects to play in Game 5

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Hornets - Game Four

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 24: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands during a freethrow against the New Orleans Hornets in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at New Orleans Arena on April 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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In the regular season, Kobe Bryant would have come out…

Oh, who are we kidding? Kobe would have stayed in if this was a pickup game on the blacktop at the local junior high. It’s how he’s wired. But it was a playoff game so in case there was any doubt, he was waving off Shannon Brown.

And he told ESPNLosAngeles’ Dave McMenamin that he plans to go in the crucial Game 5 Tuesday

“It’s sore,” Bryant said, conducting his postgame interview in the training room area of the visitor’s locker room at New Orleans Arena rather than at the podium for the televised press conference. “It just rolled over. It’s been weeks since I hurt it last and when it happens, when you roll your ankle once, it’s easy to go and it just went….

“I should play (in Game 5),” Bryant said. “It’s going to take a lot to stop me from playing.

“I’m concerned, as I am about any injury, but I’ve played through so many of them it kind of becomes old hat for me.”


That said he left the arena on crutches.

With 1:30 left in the game Kobe stepped wrong and tweaked his left ankle, the same one where he has been battling a sprain for much of the season. He was simply tracking Willie Green across the key when the toe of his foot just caught and twisted under him in a fluke play.

If Kobe’s ankle slows him, if it throws his shot off, the Lakers are going to need more from their big men. But really, they need more from their big men anyway.