ADDED 12:46PM Oct 21, 2010 by Fanshots
Kobe Bryant is used to playing heavy minutes, logging an average of 39.3 a game over the last six seasons, but he won't be anywhere near that playing time to start the season if Lakers Coach Phil Jackson gets his way.
Bryant's minutes will be monitored closely at first, yet another sign he hasn't fully recovered from off-season knee surgery in July.
"I don't anticipate he's going to be playing heavy-minute games to start the season," Jackson said Wednesday. "We'll have to find a pattern out there so he has the greatest influence in the amount of minutes he can [play]."
Jackson did not specify how many minutes Bryant would play when the regular season begins Tuesday against Houston. Bryant averaged 38.8 minutes a game last season.
He is shooting a woeful 27.3% and averaging 11 points and 19.5 minutes in six exhibition games. Bryant will probably sit out Thursday's game against Golden State but will appear in the Lakers' exhibition finale Friday against the Warriors, Jackson said.
Jackson didn't seem worried by Bryant's lack of outside touch so far (18-for-66 shooting).
"I'm not that concerned about his shot as I am just about having an overall ability to play with the kind of energy he wants to play with," Jackson said. "His shot will come as soon as that happens. He's the best caretaker I've ever seen of his own physique."
Bryant did not talk to reporters after taking part in Wednesday's practice, but Pau Gasol will step in and fill the scoring void, right?