Kobe Bryant Plays at ’60 Percent’ With Injured Knee as Lakers Drop Preseason Game to Timberwolves

The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to London where they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night 111-92, but that is not all they have to worry about.

Although Kobe Bryant played a few minutes against the Timberwolves, his knee is affecting his game considerably after undergoing surgery this past summer.

"I'm probably about 60 percent," Bryant said.

Last spring Bryant had his knee drained in between Game 4 and Game 5 of LA's first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder last spring. And once the Lakers defeated the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Bryant said that removing the excess fluid in his knee improved his health and his game for the rest of the postseason. 

But according to what Bryant said after Monday's loss to the Timberwolves, his knee was bothering him during the NBA Finals — even though his MVP-caliber performance didn't show it.

"During the NBA Finals, it was extremely, extremely, extremely painful," Bryant said. "Now, not so much."

Kobe has been trying to take it easy during training camp and the preseason, so that his knee will improve to 100 percent for the regular season that kicks off in three weeks. It is speculated that it will still take two weeks into the regular season for Kobe to be back on his feet in full force.

Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said it was difficult benching his star on Monday, due to the crowd's demands to see the MVP on the floor.

"A lot of people were calling for Kobe to go back in the ballgame," Jackson said, according to ESPN.com. "We had plans to hopefully play him two segments, but one was enough."

However, after wearing a yellow protective sleeve over his knee and playing just six minutes, Kobe was sitting on the bench icing his knees up.

"I wanted to get up [off the bench] and get in, but the shoes were unlaced, ice on the knees, knees were frozen and at that point I couldn't get back in," Bryant said. "But it felt good to still get out there and play and run around a little bit."

The Lakers have had ten practice sessions since the start of training camp and Bryant has playing in full-court contact drills in only two of them.

Bryant said that the only reason he played at all in the exhibition game was because of the fans that came out.

"It's really the only reason why I played," Bryant said. "I didn't need to measure and see where my strength was at. I pretty much knew from the practice that I had a couple days prior. I just felt like I had a sense of responsibility to get out there and play. We fly all the way out here and fans come out here to watch the game and I had a responsibility to go out there and play a little bit."

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