The Washington Post

Kobe Bryant injury: Was the play dirty?

Kobe Bryant is out indefinitely with his sprained ankle. (Curtis Compton / AP)

Kobe Bryant sprained his left ankle severely Wednesday night, an injury may have dire implications for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have fought their way up to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. But, in the immediate aftermath of the play, Bryant was steamed because of what he said was a “dirty and dangerous” play by the Atlanta Hawks’ Dahntay Jones.

(Erik S. Lesser / EPA) (Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

Bryant was hurt when he landed on Jones’s foot as he attempted a shot that would have tied the score late in the Lakers’ 96-92 loss to the Hawks. Afterward, Bryant emailed Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarnowski to say that Jones “threw his hip and lower body into mine on the shot. That’s a foul with 100 percent certainty. Dirty and dangerous play. Doesn’t belong in the game.”

X-rays of Bryant’s ankle were negative and he’s listed as “out indefinitely,” with the Lakers playing the Indiana Pacers next on Friday night.

After the game, Bryant told reporters that Jones “Jalen Rose’d me,” a reference to a similar play on which he sprained his ankle in the 2000 NBA Finals.

X-rays of his ankle were negative, but the Lakers said Bryant would be out indefinitely. Jones argued that his play wasn’t dirty at all.



This isn’t the first time Bryant and Jones have tangled. When Jones was playing for the Denver Nuggets, he was called for two flagrant fouls against Bryant in the 2009 Western Conference finals.

With that kind of history, this isn’t going away. “I can’t get my mind past the fact that I’ve got to wait a year to get revenge,” Bryant said.

In the interim, there’s a vigorous debate about the play.

“First and foremost, I think the officials really need to protect shooters,” Bryant said. “Defensive players, you can contest shots, but you can’t walk underneath players. It’s just a very, very dangerous play, especially if I’m fading away. There’s no rhyme or reason why I should come down anywhere near somebody’s foot.”

Does he have a fair point?

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · March 13, 2013