Bryant's sprained ankle improved

Tuesday, December 5th 2006, 5:49 pm
By: News On 6

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant's sprained right ankle has improved and the Los Angeles Lakers' star might play Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets.

Team spokesman John Black said on Tuesday it would probably be a game-time decision.

"The ankle was better today, he showed some nice improvement," Black said. "The swelling has come down. We're still going to list him as day to day."

Bryant was injured early in the 3rd quarter of Monday night's 101-87 victory over Indiana when he got an offensive rebound and missed an off-balance shot before landing on Pacers center Jeff Foster's right foot. Bryant scored 21 points before getting hurt.

Bryant received treatment at the Lakers' training facility on Tuesday, and didn't practice. Black said the treatment would continue for the next couple of days.

"He said he didn't sleep last night, stayed up all night doing therapy and exercises," Black said. "He got a nice nap in today while receiving treatment on a training table."

Following Monday night's game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson described the injury as a moderate sprain.

Bryant, who led the NBA in scoring last season with a 35.4-point average, missed the first two games this year while recovering from offseason knee surgery. His 52-point performance against Utah last Thursday night showed his knee is at or close to being 100 percent.

The Pacific Division-leading Lakers (12-5) bring a three-game winning streak into their game Wednesday night. The Hornets (8-8) have lost five in a row.