Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 10/11/12
ONTARIO, CA -- Just a day after deflecting retirement rumors, Kobe Bryant had something much more immediate to deal with Wednesday -- a sore shoulder. An hour and a half prior to the Lakers' 93-75 exhibition game loss to the Portland Trailblazers, there was Bryant, sitting in the home locker room at Citizen's Business Bank Arena with a contraption looking much like a vacuum cleaner pumping air into a therapeutic sleeve attached to his arm. The official diagnosis was a strained shoulder, suffered while dunking near the end of Tuesday's practice. A smiling Bryant said he'd be fine for Saturday's game at Staples Center against the Utah Jazz. Coach Mike Brown wasn't so sure, saying he didn't know how serious the injury is, and that it's wait-and-see time for Bryant. Brown, of course, is notoriously close-to-the-vest when it comes to talking in depth about player injuries, although he did admit it was he and trainer Gary Vitti who decided to hold Bryant out of the game. "He's a competitor and he wanted to play," Brown said after the game. "At this point we didn't think it was the right thing to do." If you listen to Bryant, though, there's really nothing to worry about. "I'll be fine," he said, "and I'll be back soon." Then Kobe turned comedian after someone brought up the legendary William "Smush" Parker, Kobe's sometimes thinking-challenged Laker teammate from 2005 through 2007. "And people wonder why I had to take 45 shots a game," Bryant said laughingly to his now-captive audience. "With Smush, what was I supposed to do? Let Chris Mihm shoot?" By now, reporters were hysterical and Kobe had accomplished his goal -- taking the spotlight off of his right shoulder. Even if Bryant's injury is more serious than thought, don't expect the 34-year-old to let it stop him from playing. After all, this is the true Superman of the Lakers. Kobe has played through broken bones, torn knees, arthritis, wrist injuries, severe ankle sprains, yet will close on on 45,000 regular-season minutes played by the end of the campaign. He'll probably also surpass the 9,000 minute-mark for playoff performances, a stunning total of nearly 55,000 minutes played in a career defined by toughness and absolute intensity. Bryant said that he's put himself through the pain -- physical and mental -- because of the unbridled love he has for his profession. "It's really all I've ever wanted to do since I was a kid," Bryant said. "A lot of dedication goes into being as good as you can be, and for me that means playing through injuries if I can possibly do so." Bryant admitted, though, that the tenacity and the mileage have taken a devastating toll on his body. "I feel like I'm sixty years old some days," he lamented, "but that just makes it more challenging, more exciting. Then there are the people out there who say 'It's OK if he's not the same player he was. He's lost a step. That's fine. That's the way it's supposed to be.' That stuff drives me crazy. "You always want to continue to challenge yourself and to accept the challenge that others bestow upon you. It's very easy to say 'I've had a great career. I can just chill now.' But that wouldn't make me happy just to be content. I want to try and answer those challenges and answer those critics. "Trust me. I'll be OK." NOTES: Brown put the Lakers through a nearly three-hour workout Wednesday prior to the game. "Our legs were a little tired out there," said point guard Steve Nash, who scored 13 points with running mate Bryant on the bench along with Dwight Howard....Brown admitted that he's not worried about wins and losses right now -- the Lakers are 0-2 in the pre-season. He' just wants to see how his team "meshes. Guys are going to get playing time in different situations so I can see what we've got out there," Brown said. "We know who is going to be starting; we have to decide who will get the minutes as backups."....The TrailBlazers won their first exhibition game under new head coach Terry Stotts. Rookie guard Damian Lillard had 14 points and 7 assists in his NBA debut and LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points and 8 rebounds.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker