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Monday, October 30, 2006

Kobe might play in season opener against Suns

Kobe Bryant was ahving a hard time trying to heal his knee during the World Championship. And he wouldn’t say yesterday if he’ll play in the Lakers season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, even when coach Phil Jackson said Bryant has told him he will be available.

The Lakers were on a practice yesterday at Staples Center and Bryant participated in much of the session. Kobe has been recovering from right knee surgery and didn’t play in any of the Lakers’ exhibition matches.

“The player says he’s going to play on Tuesday,” Jackson announced. “There’s a disclaimer that he’s doubtful. I’m sure that he’ll make the correct decision. He came off the floor and he was sore, but he was on the court for a good hour and a half before he came off.”

The last two days the Lakers had said that Kobe Bryant was “questionable to doubtful” for the first encounter of the new season.

In fact, Bryant didn’t give any indication after practice on his plans.

“I don’t know,” Bryant admitted. “I just take it day by day. It’s kind of frustrating, cause every day kind of varies. Today it’s a little sore.”

Coach Jackson said Bryant didn’t go full tilt in practice, but did many of the skill drills. Jackson said the Lakers are prepared whether Bryant plays or not. Maurice Evans is the likely starter if Bryant stays out.

It's important to say that Jackson, who underwent right hip-replacement surgery earlier this month, said he would coach the opener on Tuesday. He missed all the team’s exhibition matches.

He used a cane at the last practice and said he has a ways to go to be mobile and active. In fact, Jackson said it’s possible that he might not make the trip to Golden State on Wednesday for the Lakers’ second clash.