Wednesday , Jan , 21 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe Bryant to Play through Finger Injury

Bryant said the pain in the ring finger of his right hand was "probably the most I’d ever played with," and his face contorted Tuesday afternoon as he recounted his unsuccessful attempt to steal the ball from LeBron James.

Bryant did not practice Tuesday and he was wearing a splint made of plastic, aluminum and foam. When asked if he would play tonight against the Clippers, he indicated in the affirmative, in his own way.

"What do you think?" he said.

Bryant will take part in this morning’s shoot-around and determine if he needs to adjust his shot or his ballhandling to account for the discomfort. He also might experience soreness in the finger on defense, be it by hand-checking players, blocking shots or trying for steals.

"He’s going to have an adjustment period to go through," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "These [injuries] are things that you just don’t want to do anything with that hand, let alone play basketball or pound the ball or dribble it or shoot it. It’s a lot of difficulty, but it’s a trademark of who Kobe is."

Said Bryant: "I’m not concerned about it. I’ll figure it out.",0,2470840.story