Dislocated right ring finger and all, Kobe Bryant did exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers needed against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009.
Bryant and LeBron James tussled to a virtual standoff, but Bryant’s supporting cast was far more effective, and that was the difference as the Lakers beat Cleveland 105-88 to snap a five-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.
Bryant had 20 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in 41 minutes despite dislocating the ring finger on his shooting hand less than two minutes into the game.
« I just dove for the ball, and the finger just popped out, » Bryant recalled afterward while wearing a splint on the injured finger. « I was scared, I thought I was done. It felt like I had two fingers on one, it was just disgusting. [Trainer] Gary [Vitti] just popped it back into place. Not fun.
« A lot, » Bryant added when asked how much his finger bothered him during the game. « I played with some pain, obviously. I just tried to adjust as I went along, I just tried to play through it. It’s just throbbing right now. »