Bryant opts against surgery on finger

The LA Lakers player says he cannot wait 12 weeks on the sidelines.

Eastern Conference center Shaquille O'Neal (R) and Western Conference guard Kobe Bryant (L) battle for a rebound during first half action at the 55th NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas February 19, 2006.  REUTERS/John Gress
Picture Supplied by Action Images *** Local Caption *** 2006-02-20T033611Z_01_HOU18D_RTRIDSP_3_SPORT-NBA.jpg
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LOS ANGELES // The Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant has decided not to have surgery on his right little finger. The National Basketball Association's reigning Most Valuable Player, Bryant said he opted against surgery when he learned that it could keep him sidelined for 12 weeks. "When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery," Bryant said.

Bryant, 30, played in all 82 games and averaged 28.3 points last season despite suffering a ligament damage in his finger against the New Jersey Nets on Feb 5. The Lakers sensationally reached the NBA Finals, before losing to the a younger Boston Celtics side in six games. "I've always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries," Bryant said. "That's just part of the game." The off-season surgery was recommended, but Bryant postponed the operation to play in the Beijing Olympics, where he helped lead the United States to the gold medal.

"I am just really excited and looking forward to being there with the guys when the camp opens in a few weeks," Bryant said. The Lakers open camp on Sept 27 and host the Portland Trail Blazers in their season opener on Oct 28. * PA Sport