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Lakers' Bryant will play despite illness

The SportsXchange

Flu-like symptoms won't prevent Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant from playing Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers.

"He told me it's not going to bother him ... He'll play, he'll play hard," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Earlier in the day, Bryant missed the team's shoot-around, and his status was listed as a game-time decision.

Bryant played all 14 of the Lakers' games before Tuesday, averaging an NBA-best 26.9 points per game. His 51 percent shooting ranks second among guards, trailing only the 51.7 percent rate of Boston's Rajon Rondo, who is averaging just 13.5 points per game. Bryant also is contributing 5.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

Even with Bryant in action, the Lakers' backcourt remains short-handed. Steve Nash hasn't played since Halloween due to a broken leg, while Steve Blake has been out since Nov. 11 with an abdominal strain.

"They're making progress, but we're not there yet," D'Antoni said of Nash and Blake, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It's a few more days, but both of them are making progress. We're happy with both of them. I think they're getting a little more reassured that, hey, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
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