Kobe Bryant needed an assist from an unlikely source late during the Lakers’ 119–113 home loss to the Spurs on Friday.
With a little more than two minutes remaining in the game and San Antonio leading 107–102, Bryant slipped and dislocated the middle finger on his right hand while chasing a loose ball. The 18-time All-Star immediately began holding his hand in pain before walking toward the Lakers’ bench.
Once he got there, longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti grasped Bryant’s hand and popped the finger back into place. The motion caused Bryant to flex at the knees, but he walked back onto the court in hopes of remaining in the game.
Here’s a look at the somewhat gruesome scene.
The officials ruled that Bryant needed to exit the court with the injury, but he checked back in just 15 seconds later. Remarkably, he made his next shot attempt.
After the game, Bryant underwent X-rays on the finger, which came back negative. He wore a bandage on his finger during his postgame press conference.
“It’s the only time I can sit here like this at a press conference,” Bryant said, according to the Orange County Register.
Bryant finished with a team-high 25 points (on 10-of-25 shooting), four rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes in what will be his final game against Tim Duncan.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 25 points (on 9-of-16 shooting) and six assists. Duncan added 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
The Spurs improved to 46–9. The Lakers fell to 11–45.
L.A. will begin a three-game road trip against the Bulls in Chicago on Sunday.