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Kobe Bryant Likely to Miss NBA All-Star Game Because of Knee

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Kobe Bryant’s knee remains swollen and sore, and so he likely will not play in the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans next month. His return date to the Los Angeles Lakers is unknown.

The 18-year veteran, who was examined by a doctor Tuesday, will remain restricted to non-weight-bearing exercises with a heavy emphasis on stationary bike work, a situation that makes him “ready to throw the bike in the damn pool right about now,” he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

I’m “down about it,” Bryant told the newspaper, after L.A.’s 104-92 loss to Indiana on Tuesday night. “I didn’t know what to expect. It’s an injury that I really can’t measure so I have no idea what it’s supposed to feel like. It’s tough. It never really hurt when I was walking on it in the first place, so it’s tough to gauge it.”

Bryant was re-evaluated by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo before the game. He’ll be evaluated again in three weeks.

The updated timeline effectively ends the debate as to whether Bryant should play in the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16. Bryant said last week that he felt undeserving of his starting bid and preferred that his spot on the team go to one of the “young guys” who had appeared and excelled in more games this season.

Bryant had previously said he hoped fans wouldn’t vote for him, but the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history was elected to the game for the 16th straight time anyway. Assuming Bryant is unable to play in the All-Star Game, the NBA will pick his replacement on the West team. The West coach would pick a new starter.

“It’s not something that’s kind of on the surface where you can pinpoint and feel the swelling around,” he said. “It’s deep in there.”

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