Kobe Bryant will miss his fifth game of the season, sitting out to rest his sore right shoulder, the Los Angeles Lakers announced before their game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant played all three of the Lakers' road games, including a back-to-back, but won't be on the floor in their return to Staples Center.
The Lakers are coming off of a win in Boston that included a big three with under two minutes left from Kobe to help seal off a late surge from the Celtics. The trio of Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell had good games as a unit, and should see extended playing time in the absence of Bryant. It could also open up spot minutes for Anthony Brown, who started in place of Bryant against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The shoulder issue is going to be a lingering story as the Lakers trudge toward the All-Star break, and he also indicated he was feeling soreness in his knee heading into Memphis. Bryant's repeatedly stated how important it is for him to play if he is physically able to, so a missed game is something to take note of. Routine rest isn't a bad thing to try and keep Kobe fresh while giving the wing rotation different looks, and getting him a three-day break is a good opportunity to take advantage of after a road trip.
Their next game is Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. We'll follow up with any updates on Kobe's status as they come in.