About an hour and a half before tip-off, Byron Scott surprised just about everyone when he announced Kobe Bryant would not play in the Christmas Day game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls.
Bryant also missed the Lakers' gamed against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, as the 36-year-old superstar is struggling with fatigue and physical exhaustion. Officially, the Lakers will list Bryant's reason for missing the game as "Rest."
Bryant gave his reason shortly after the story broke: "Old age: my knees are sore at this stage of the season; my Achilles are sore--both of them; metatarsals are tight; back is tight."
"I just need to kind of hit the reset button on it," Bryant continued. "It's going against my nature, but I got to be smart about this."
Bryant admitted that missing a Christmas Day game against former teammate Pau Gasol in Chicago was difficult. However, he did not sound like he had much of a choice in the matter.
"When I have a couple days, what happens is the body realizes how messed up it is," he almost laughed. "So, everything else starts hurting. It's an opportunity to treat everything."
"You got to face reality a little bit," Bryant added in a pregame interview with TNT. "I want to be efficient. I want to play at a high level. And I have to work around what I can and can't do and just accept that."
Bryant said he spent time doing massage, ice baths and treatment while with the team. Physical therapist Judy Seto had spent about an hour and a half working with the sore superstar earlier in the morning.
"I'll get back to being healthy like I was at the start of the season," Bryant sounded confident he would return to the player that was turning heads rather than dropping them. "Yea, we'll probably cut down the minutes."
When asked if he felt obligated to play on NBA's Christmas lineup, the 19-year veteran said, "I feel an obligation to play if I'm at the YMCA, honestly."
For now, the only obligation Bryant has is to get himself rested.