Thursday , Mar , 11 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe makes surprise return against Celtics

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – All-Star guard Kobe Bryant made a surprise
return to the Lakers’ lineup on Wednesday and collected 18 points and 10
assists, as Los Angeles posted a 117-109 victory over the Boston Celtics at
the FleetCenter.

Bryant had missed the last two games with a sprained right shoulder. He
sustained the injury during a game against Seattle on March 5 and was expected
to be sidelined for four weeks.

“It felt okay. It felt all right,” said Bryant, who played with an NBA-
approved brace on the shoulder. “The (Lakers medical staff) trust my decision-
making. They knew I was ready to play. I felt I was ready to play and they let
me go in there with (the injury).”

Bryant suffered a sprained acromio-clavicular joint when he collided with
forward Reggie Evans in the first minute of last Friday’s 99-91 win over
the SuperSonics at Staples Center.

Bryant, who entered Wednesday’s action averaging 22.4 points per contest,
missed six games after spraining the same shoulder against Cleveland on
January 12. He also had surgery last off-season to repair torn tissue in the
shoulder.

LAL