Kobe Bryant suffered nasty ankle sprain in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, briefly leaving the game to have it taped. He told ESPN's Dave McMenamin that it was the scariest sprain he's ever had, but that while the ankle swelled to the size of baseball Saturday night, it was structurally strong.
Bryant said he expects to play Monday against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. Every game counts for the Lakers, who are in a crucial race with the Mavericks for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, a race which titled toward L.A. on Saturday. The Lakers survived 25 points from each of Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, limiting the Mavericks' guards to poor shooting. Should the teams be tied at season's end, the Lakers would have the first tiebreaker owing to a division title; the Mavericks would need to catch racing-ahead San Antonio to capture the same.
The Lakers are just a half-game behind the Mavericks after Saturday's result.
Bryant has missed just 16 games over the last six seasons.