Kobe Bryant denies calling out Dwight Howard over injury, according to report

Jared Wickerham

Kobe Bryant says his recent comments about Dwight Howard were misconstrued and that he was not calling out the center for not playing with a shoulder injury.

The ongoing drama between Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard has taken another turn, as Bryant told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that his recent interview with ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan was misconstrued and that he was not calling out Howard for sitting three games with a shoulder injury:

"Listen, I really think people ran in the wrong direction with those quotes," Bryant told Y! Sports. "And I think that put Dwight on the defense, put him a little on edge. But that wasn't the intention, nor the purpose.

"I didn't say anything earth-shattering. I didn't say anything I haven't been saying all year.

"Honestly, I didn't take a run at him."

Bryant also reached out to Howard via text to attempt to defuse the situation, but his quotes to MacMullan on his teammate seemed pretty clear. Bryant said that the Lakers "don't have time" for the big man's shoulder to heal and that there needs to be "some urgency." That appears to be quite the blatant call-out.

For more on the Lakers, head over to Silver Screen and Roll

Howard responded to Bryant's comments with some of his own, defending his toughness and saying he has his future to think about. The center is dealing with both a torn labrum in his shoulder and a bad back, which has limited his explosiveness for much of the season. Howard did play on Thursday night against the Boston Celtics, but he was woefully ineffective in a blowout loss.

With a Kobe-Howard feud brewing, the center battling several debilitating injuries and Pau Gasol on the shelf for up to two months with a torn plantar fascia, the Lakers' season is firmly on the brink. Bryant is battling tendinitis in his shooting elbow himself. With all these injuries piling up, it's hard to envision Los Angeles turning things around in the tough Western Conference. The Lakers are currently 3½ games behind the Houston Rockets for the final playoff spot in the West.

Can Kobe and Dwight put aside their differences and come together to get the Lakers back in contention? Stay tuned.

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