The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed that their superstar guard did indeed have a concussion, which was determined by a neurologist. Bryant is questionable for tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A new NBA policy could prevent Bryant from playing Wednesday after a neurologist diagnosed him Tuesday with a concussion from a hard foul by Miami guard Dwyane Wade in Sunday’s All-Star game. According to the concussion policy the league implemented this season, a player must be symptom-free for 24 hours and then complete a series of steps to confirm he was healthy enough for competition. Physical exertion increases at each stage, from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to noncontact drills. If Bryant didn’t experience symptoms after each stage, there would be consultation with the neurologist in charge of the NBA’s concussion program before he was cleared to play.
Bryant went to see neurologist Vern Williams on Tuesday afternoon after disclosing unspecified symptoms, according to a Lakers spokesman. Earlier in the day, an ear, nose and throat specialist confirmed Bryant had a broken nose. That Bryant never stopped playing after sustaining such injuries in a game sponsored by the NBA could become a flashpoint of debate if Bryant couldn’t play Wednesday … or even if he could.
Kobe Bryant, who’s never had a concussion in his career before, will see a neurologist again today before his game status can be officially determined.
Given Bryant’s willingness to play (and train) through just about any ailment, putting the decision for him to suit up or not tonight in someone else’s hands, is likely the right move.
UPDATE: According to the Lakers’ team website, it sounds like Kobe will likely play tonight: “Kobe Bryant, who suffered a broken nose and concussion at Sunday’s All-Star game, has been ‘symptom free’ since last afternoon, according to Lakers spokesman John Black. Bryant saw neurologist Dr. Williams this morning and passed the neurological exam, and according to Black, is ‘doing great so far.’ […] Bryant also passed three further tests, one on a bicycle, one on a treadmill and what’s known as an Axon test – a baseline test for cognitive function – on Wednesday. Another portion of the test comes on the basketball court, in which Bryant played 2-on-2 subsequent to Black’s address to the media. Provided that hoops test went well, and Bryant passes the pregame neurological exam, he will indeed play against Minnesota.”