By Ben Golliver
Kobe Bryant, his preseason work complete, will sit out until the games matter.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced Wednesday that their All-Star guard will be shut down for the remainder of the preseason with a sore right foot. The Lakers have preseason games against the the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Bryant will be re-evaluted before the Lakers begin their 2012-13 regular-season schedule by hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 30 at the Staples Center. The decision to shut Bryant down will give him nine days of rest between the injury and L.A.'s season opener.
Bryant suffered the foot injury during Sunday's loss to the Kings.
Bryant strained the foot when accidentally making contact with a Kings opponent, as opposed to being kicked.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Bryant dubbed his foot "pretty sore."
The foot swelled up overnight, and Bryant has been in pain since.
"It's always frustrating to have these freak accidents," Bryant said. "It always upsets me."
In comments made Tuesday, and posted to YouTube by the Los Angeles Times, Bryant didn't sound all that concerned about the injury from a long-term perspective.
"It will slow me down a little bit. I've been going full-bore pretty much every day. It's probably a good thing."
ESPNLA.com reported Thursday that the injury is officially being called a "strain" and that Bryant is being listed as out "indefinitely" for now.
The level of concern here for Lakers fans should remain at zero. The biggest key for a veteran L.A. team during the preseason was to get an early look at how Bryant and Pau Gasol would mesh with new center Dwight Howard and new point Steve Nash. Howard's rehabilitation from back surgery came together just in time to give the quartet the opportunity to play together before wins and losses count. That game, Sunday's loss to the Kings, hinted at the success and domination that will come if all four can remain healthy. Nash and Gasol fed Howard with lobs, Bryant and Howard ran some pick-and-roll and Nash and Howard combined to push tempo on numerous occasions. Bryant and Howard combined for 40 points, Gasol added 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Nash had five assists. There wasn't much missing from the October night for a team that looks poised to make a run at playing in June. Bryant, 34, appeared in five preseason games for the Lakers, posting averages of 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 26.8 minutes per game. One of the league's more durable superstars, he appeared in 58 of L.A.'s 66 games last season, averaging 27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.