Kobe Bryant: Lakers Star Won't Let Illness Deter Him from Closing out Nuggets

Kevin Van PeltCorrespondent IMay 10, 2012

DENVER, CO - MAY 06:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Arron Afflalo #6 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 6, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant won't let an illness stop him from competing in a regular season game, let alone a playoff game.

According to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, the Lakers star missed shootaround due to an illness.

Lucky for Lakers fans, Yahoo Sports has reported that Bryant is expected to play despite being sick.

With a chance to close out the Denver Nuggets in a pivotal Game 6, there is no possible way that Bryant would miss this game. This is the same player who has played through multiple injuries in his knee and his fingers. A stomach bug will hardly get in his way.

This year alone, Bryant has gone through a broken nose, concussion and a shin injury, none of which have slowed him down on his pursuit for a sixth NBA championship.

Sometimes it seems that players, especially the great ones, play better when they are sick. The perfect example would be Michael Jordan playing with the flu. It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the trainers advised Jordan not to play. However, he started for the Bulls that night and ended up with a game high 38 points.

Bryant has the same mentality that Jordan had when he played.

Both players do whatever they can to win and refuse to sit out of the lineup unless it is absolutely necessary. Playing in this game might even help Bryant feel better since he will be focused on his job on the court and it will distract him from his illness.

One can't help but wonder, though, if this will affect his game. Depending on how sick he was this morning, he may not be able to get a good lift on his jumper if his legs have become weak from the illness. His ability to drive in the lane may have diminished, and his ability to play defense and come off hard pick and rolls may be worse tonight also.

But that is all speculation, and we won't know how this will affect him until he steps on the floor tonight. Going by past records, this will be a small problem for Bryant, but he will be able to fight through it.

Another important aspect of tonight's game is that if the Lakers are able to close out the Nuggets in Game 6, it will give Bryant more time to rest up from being sick.

If the Black Mamba wants to make sure he doesn't have to go play another game feeling like crap, then he better make sure he can lead his team to victory tonight.