Bryant sits out; Bynum returns

Updated: February 17, 2010, 1:11 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant sat out for a fourth straight game for the Los Angeles Lakers, missing Tuesday night's contest against the Golden State Warriors.

"He checked out of this game, basically," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said about 90 minutes before tipoff. "He practiced yesterday and was effective, but he didn't try anything. He didn't go to the basket, just helped run the team and helped keep things going in the right direction. But this morning, he said he just didn't feel it and he didn't have any strength back in the leg to really be explosive. But he didn't say anything about discomfort at all."

ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher first reported that Bryant would miss the game.

Bryant's availability for Thursday night's rematch with the Boston Celtics also remains in doubt.

"It's purely up to him," Jackson said. "When he's ready to play, we'll encourage him to play."

Bryant hasn't played since Feb. 5, when he aggravated a sprained left ankle. The injury also kept him out of the All-Star Game.

The defending NBA champion Lakers won all three games without Bryant before the break.

The next game he plays will be his 1,000th during the regular season and will make him the youngest player in NBA history to reach that milestone. That record is held by Boston's Kevin Garnett.

The Lakers did get center Andrew Bynum back in the lineup after he missed two games with a bruised right hip. Bynum scored 21 points in the Lakers' 104-94 win.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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