BRYANT DOUBTS EASE FOR LONDON

British basketball fans hoping to see Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant in action in London have been given increased hope after it was confirmed he is likely to see limited action in Monday’s pre-season game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The All-Star guard, who has led the Lakers to five titles, is recovering from knee surgery in the summer and sat out his team’s final scrimmage before they departed for Europe, opting instead to work out with the team’s training staff.

However Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has revealed he will consider giving the veteran a “6-8 minute run” but admitted he will not risk Bryant at The 02 Arena if there is any chance it will delay his return.

“You want to give the fans who have paid sterling to have an opportunity to see one the most remarkable players in the game,” Jackson said. “But if he’s not well enough to do so, obviously we’ll not do that.”

Bryant, however, was more optimistic about making his first appearance in a building where he hopes to return, in two years time, for the Olympic Games final.

“It’s all about whether I can perform or not,” explained Bryant. “We’ll see. I’ve always been very adamant about not missing games because people spend their hard earned money to come watch me play. I wanna make sure to go out there and play.”

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived Anthony Roberson and Russell Hicks before their overseas trip.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have freed forward DerMarr Johnson ahead of their departure.

It has also been confirmed that Jonny Flynn will not make the trip to Europe. The All-Rookie selection, who was set to miss the game while he recovers from injury,will remain home for further treatment.

BBC to broadcast play-by-play

The BBC will broadcast live on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, from 7.45pm, with the station confirming that, unlike last year’s celebrity-led coverage, there will be full commentary and analysis with a team including Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro.

Stars head for Fan Zone

Lakers trio Andrew Bynum, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff will appear at the NBA’s Fan Zone at the National Theatre, South Bank on Saturday afternoon, along with team legends Robert Horry and James Worthy. Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic are to appear on Sunday.

Adidas ticket winner
Congratulations to B Patel from West Ewell, the winner of two tickets to the game courtesy of Adidas. For all those others who entered, remember we have two more pairs to give away in our Foot Locker competition.

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