Kobe Bryant's inflamed left shin continues to improve, but the Los Angeles Lakers superstar will sit out his third consecutive game Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
The 33-year-old Bryant has already missed two games with a sore left shin. Before the Lakers departed for San Antonio on Tuesday, coach Mike Brown had already ruled him out again.
The Lakers are 1-1 without Bryant, a 13-time All-Star, one-time league MVP and the NBA’s leading scorer this season at 28.1 points per game.
Bryant suffered the injury on March 31 when he was kicked in the shin during the first quarter of the Lakers' 88-85 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
He sat out the Lakers' past two games, a 125-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday and a 93-91 win over the Hornets on Monday.
By opting to sit out against San Antonio, Bryant will have had a full week's worth of rest come Friday should he decide to suit up at home against the Denver Nuggets.
"Really, the only way to stop (the inflammation) is to shut him down," longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said Saturday. Vitti re-evaluated Bryant on Monday in New Orleans and Tuesday in San Antonio and reported improvements after each examination.
Bryant did not participate in Lakers practice on Tuesday at Antioch Community Sports Complex in San Antonio and declined to speak to reporters.
One sign of Bryant's improvement, however, was the absence of a protective boot covering his left shin as he walked out of the gymnasium.
Devin Ebanks, a second-year player out of West Virginia, started both games in Bryant’s absence, averaging nine points per game.
Bryant’s condition, officially diagnosed as tenosynovitis. Tenosynovitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sheath surrounding a tendon.
Bryant's status remains day to day, according to the Lakers.