CHICAGO (CBS) — The Bulls say they expect Kobe Bryant will be playing with the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day despite a wrist injury, and they’re preparing to take on the challenge.
For the debut of their truncated season, the Bulls will take on the Lakers in Los Angeles Sunday at 4 p.m.
In news that CBS Sports characterized as spreading “like wildfire,” Bryant tore a ligament in his wrist and is being listed s day-to-day by the Lakers.
But Bulls guard Kyle Korver says he is expecting Bryant to play as usual.
“Kobe’s going to play. Come on now,” Korver said.. “You know, we’re working on a game plan for him. He played last year, two years ago and broke his finger on his shooting hand? Come on, he’s going to play with a banged-up wrist.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thiboudeau agreed that Bryant is sure to be playing on Sunday.
“I mean, this guy, his will to win – his mental and physical toughness – you know, he’s always played through things. That’s why I’m anticipating him playing. You know, his career speaks for itself. He’s one of the premier players the league. The Lakers have been one of the best organization sand teams in the league for a log time, so we have to be ready,” he said.
With that in mind, Bulls guard Derrick Rose is preparing a game plan to taken on the seasoned Bryant.
“When he first came in the league, I was a watching him a lot because he was a driver when he first came. Of course, he could shoot a little bit. But when he was came in here, he was more athletic than he is right now. Age definitely got to him, but that’s for any player that played that many playoffs and games, and won as many championships as did,” Rose said.
The Bulls’ opener against the Lakers starts a season that has been pushed back by the NBA lockout in the fall. The Bulls will proceed to take on the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks; the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks, and the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder.