Kobe Bryant says knee is '100 percent'
LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is back at 100 percent. If you believe him.
Immediately after the Los Angeles Lakers' 107-83 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again.
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Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it.
"Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee," Bryant said.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson saw it another way.
"I'm pleased with the progress of Kobe, it looks like his offense is coming along," Jackson said after Bryant scored 20 points on efficient 8 of 16 shooting. "Defensively he is still working on some things that he has to get done with his strength and base.
"He's not 100 percent, but that's nice of him to say it."
Bryant did not care for Jackson's assessment.
"I'm 100 percent, I don't give a [expletive] what he says," Bryant said with a laugh. "Leave me alone about my knee. I'm fine."
After the Lakers' first preseason game Bryant admitted his knee was only 60 percent healed, and Jackson aimed to hold Bryant to less than 20 minutes a night throughout the exhibition schedule.
Jackson said he would not play Bryant "heavy minutes" a few days before the Lakers opened up the regular season against the Houston Rockets, but Bryant averaged 35.5 minutes in the Lakers' first two games before playing only 27 minutes in the Lakers' rout on Sunday, sitting out the entire fourth quarter with the team holding a comfortable lead.
Bryant is averaging 24 points, 6.3 rebounds and four assists through the unbeaten Lakers' first three games.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.