- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant's sore left ankle has been upgraded to a sprain, according to a Lakers spokesman at practice on Thursday.
Bryant did not participate in practice, opting to spend the time "trying a variety of therapies on [the ankle] to see what will work for him," according to Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
"He's working with it," Jackson said.
Bryant, who has played in all 50 games this season despite injuries to his right index finger, groin, lower back, right elbow, right knee and now left ankle, may be in jeopardy of halting his 234 consecutive games played streak, which ranks fifth amongst active players.
"I'm sure he wants to [play]," Jackson said. "We'll see what that's about tomorrow."
When Bryant was banged up earlier this season, Jackson maintained the team was better off with Bryant on the court at less than 100 percent. But Jackson hinted his line of thinking might have changed during the Lakers' 99-97 win over the Bobcats on Wednesday. Bryant had trouble pushing off of his left ankle.
"[Sitting Bryant out] had occurred to me yesterday during the course of that game," Jackson said. "I told him he did really quite well during the game even though his shooting was 2 for 12, a lot of those balls were dropped on him as the 24 second clock was running out. Those kids were just so used to giving him the ball at the end of the clock and making him develop a shot, but he kept us running the offense, his defense was good, he did some real good things out there in that respect."
"Kobe usually plays 82 games since I've been here," Odom says. "He has a broken finger that he plays with so that wheel's going to really have to hurt for him not to play. If he is hurt, then hopefully other guys can step up and play well. He's hard to replace."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann