Lakers rest Kobe with focus on regular season

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is expected to miss his second straight preseason game Monday and may not see the floor again until the regular season.

Bryant will not play against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center due to a lower leg contusion.

The 37-year-old Bryant suffered the injury during a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas last week, and he missed Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors in San Diego.

While Byron Scott said he isn’t concerned about the injury, the Lakers coach wants to play it safe with Bryant, whose past three seasons have all been cut short by injury.

“To be honest with you, [Bryant] probably won’t play [Monday],” Scott said after practice Sunday. “I’d rather get him close to 100 percent as possible. These games don’t mean anything right now. It’s really giving me a chance to look at these young guys anyway.”

Scott said Bryant might not play again this preseason. The Lakers have two games left: Monday and Thursday against the Warriors.

“There’s a chance,” Scott said. “I’m not going to put a percentage on it, but there’s a chance.”

But Scott said he is confident that Bryant will “absolutely” play in the Lakers’ regular-season opener Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.

Scott said Bryant still has some soreness in his leg and that he is only jogging and shooting at the moment.

“When him and I talked, his only minor concern was just getting his running in,” Scott said. “He worked too hard this summer to sit down for a week or two as far as conditioning goes. That’s the only thing he’s really kind of thinking about.”

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