Kobe cleared to play vs. Minnesota

LOS ANGELES – You couldn’t hear it, but there was a collective sign of relief coming out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ locker room late Wednesday afternoon.

That’s because guard Kobe Bryant was given the go-ahead to play after suffering a concussion in Sunday’s All-Star Game. 

Bryant was cleared by neurologist Dr. Vern Williams after passing a number of tests Tuesday.

“He looks good right now and we’ve cleared him to return,” Williams said before the Lakers faced the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will be without All-Star Kevin Love because of the flu, at Staples Center. “We will watch him very carefully, and we’ll see how he does.” 

Bryant’s return was in doubt after he reported symptoms of a concussion when he was fouled by the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade in the All-Star Game at Orlando. Bryant’s nose was also broken on the same play. He was playing with a protective mask Wednesday night.

Williams said Bryant sustained a headache, nausea and symptoms of whiplash that are associated with a concussion. He said he didn’t believe the whiplash symptoms would be an ongoing problem 

Although the NBA has guidelines regarding players’ return to action after a concussion, Williams said Bryant’s improvement was “dramatic.” 

“Kobe has been seen on a number of occasions today,” Williams said. “He’s been examined and reevaluated, and he’s gone through every one of the specific tests that we’ve required him to go through and has passed them all with flying colors. He’s been symptom-free as well, and although he’s had a somewhat accelerated step-wise return to play, he has satisfied to our satisfaction a step-wise return.”