Mike Brown: Kobe Bryant to play Sunday, Dwight Howard still out
The 34-year-old Kobe Bryant sat out both Friday’s morning and evening practices after experiencing some discomfort in his right knee.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown returned Kobe Bryant to the active list for Sunday’s preseason opener. However, Mike Brown added that the two-time MVP Kobe Bryant will play limited minutes just like the rest of the starters on the roster.
“He looked good. He didn’t have limitations today,” said Mike Brown. “But we will watch it day-by-day. They’re not going to play their normal minutes to start off.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers offseason acquisition Dwight Howard (shipped from the Orlando Magic via a four team trade), has been ruled out of Sunday’s preseason opener.
Dwight Howard is coming-off strong in training camp, including a complete practice on Saturday.
"He looks good to me. We haven't taken him out of many things,” said Mike Brown. He's going full bore most of the time.”
However, Mike Brown revealed Dwight Howard will not get to play until team trainers are satisfied that he will not experience a relapse form ongoing rehabilitation following offseason back surgery.
“He’s (still) got to talk his way in (a game) with Gary (Vitti, Los Angeles Lakers’ trainer) first,” stated Mike Brown. “I’m just going by with what they want to do.”
In a surprise turn of events Saturday, Mike Brown also shared that previously starting prospect at center Jordan Hill, originally a reserve power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, will not start the preseason opener.
"If – and you never say never – but if Dwight Howard doesn't play tomorrow, I'll start either (Robert) Sacre or (Greg) Somogyi," said Mike Brown. “I might grab a coin and flip it.”
Just this week, Mike Brown had showered great praise at Jordan Hill, stating that the player deserved to start center in Dwight Howard’s absence due to his outstanding performance during training camp.
“I want to see Jordan Hill playing with the other guys coming off the bench,” Mike Brown stated Saturday, “and Jordan playing the power forward."
However, both rookies Robert Sacre and Greg Somogyi may be long shots at making the roster. But Mike Brown revealed his decision lies between the two: the former undrafted free agent Greg Somogyi, or Los Angeles Lakers’s second-round draft pick Robert Sacre, so as to start a true center at the position.
‘I just want to start a true center with the group so I can watch Pau at the power forward spot,” Mike Brown reasoned. “I just want to see Pau starting at his position that he'll start at.”
“I'm looking at different combinations, to see how guys are going to play in their normal spots…But it doesn’t matter. It’s the first preseason game,” continued Mike Brown. “I think the guys would be OK if I started (Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach) Darvin Ham.”