ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant missed his third straight preseason game Thursday, sitting out his team’s preseason finale against the Golden State Warriors at the Honda Center with a lower leg contusion.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said he still expects the 37-year-old Bryant, who is in his 20th season with the Lakers, to play in the team’s regular-season opener on Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.
“There’s no doubt in my mind [that he’ll play in that game],” Scott said before his team faced the Warriors on Thursday. “Talking to him [Thursday], he said he’s just gearing up for Wednesday. I said, ‘Good, because that’s what I’m gearing up for as well.’ There’s no doubt in my mind. It will take a whole lot to keep him out of that game.”
Bryant suffered his injury last week in a preseason loss to the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas but had been pushing to play in the preseason finale.
After Monday’s game, Scott said Bryant would need to feel 100 percent to play against the Warriors on Thursday.
Every bump and bruise for Bryant is a concern for the Lakers, as his past three seasons have each been cut short by injury.
Bryant returned to action this preseason after sitting out nine months following a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that ended his 2014-15 campaign after 35 games.