Kobe Bryant left the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks with just under two minutes left in the third after landing awkwardly on his left ankle.
“As soon as I stood up I was excited that my foot was still straight,” Bryant said after the game. “I was happy to see that it was lined up and then I walked in [the locker room] and said, ‘OK, maybe it’s just a sprained ankle and I can deal with it.'”
Bryant had injured the ankle during the Lakers’ win against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, but played through the pain.
After he got his ankle evaluated and tested it himself, the 32-year-old returned to the game with 6:30 left in the last quarter.
“My strength felt good, I could push off on it,” Bryant said. “It was still a little sore, so I had to stop being a chump, suck it up and go out there and play.
“It’s pretty swollen, it’s like a baseball outside of my ankle, but the strength is still good. So even though it looks horrible, I can still push off of it and things like that.”
Bryant finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds, and posted a mediocre 6-for-20 from the floor, but considering the initial severity of the injury, those numbers aren’t anything to balk at.
“I thought I was done, like done,” he said. “I was just praying that when I stood up my foot was lined up straight. I thought I dislocated it.
“We were all pretty scared s—less, to be honest with you, because it looked horrible and felt worse.”
Bryant said that the sprain was the scariest he had ever experienced, but he was happy to be walking and is already looking forward to his return.
“I’ll just do what I always do: don’t sleep, get treatment around the clock and I should be fine.”
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