Summer Olympians Bryant, Gasol might sit out preseason games to rest

Updated: October 1, 2008, 1:13 AM ET
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol might sit out some of the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason games after a hectic offseason.

Bryant helped lead the United States to a victory over Gasol and Spain in the gold medal game in the Summer Olympics. Bryant and Gasol each took only a few weeks off before reporting for the first day of training camp Tuesday.

Bryant and Gasol played a carefree game of one-on-one near the end of the first of the Lakers' two practices. Their teammates, meanwhile, ran a set of wind sprints at the conclusion of their morning workout.

"This week I'm just seeing how they feel, how's their energy level, and then we'll adjust," coach Phil Jackson said. "I was told not to say that I wasn't going to play Kobe in exhibition games.

"So I'm not going to say Kobe's not going to play in this exhibition game or that exhibition game. But there is a chance they may not play in an exhibition game."

Jackson said last week he was determined to monitor Bryant's playing time more closely this season. The reigning NBA MVP, who turned 30 on Aug. 23 and is entering his 13th season, averaged 28.3 points in 38.9 minutes in leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals last season.

"Phil does a good job of making sure we stay in good condition, but that he doesn't overexert us too much because of the long summer we had," Bryant said. "I feel great. I could run all day. I'm in shape, so I'm ready to go."

The Lakers play their first preseason game Oct. 7.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press