Kobe Bryant again has urged Dwight Howard to play through some pain while claiming that the Los Angeles Lakers’ center “worries too much” about media and fan criticism.
Howard has missed the past three games because of a torn labrum in his shoulder, aggravating an injury he initially suffered earlier this season.
Despite winning the three games Howard has missed, the Lakers (23-26) are 10th in the Western Conference playoff race. They also will be without star forward Pau Gasol, who has a tear in the plantar fascia of his right foot, an MRI revealed Wednesday. The Lakers fear Gasol could be sidelined four to six weeks, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“We don’t have time for (Howard’s shoulder) to heal,” Bryant said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan. “We need some urgency.”
The interview with MacMullan came one day after Bryant publicly challenged Howard, stating that playing through an injury is “something that you have to balance out and manage.”
Bryant also asserted that Howard is preoccupied with how he is perceived by fans and media.
“Dwight worries too much about what people think,” Bryant told MacMullan. “I told him, ‘You can’t worry about that. It’s holding you back.’ He says, ‘OK, OK, OK,’ but it’s always hovering around him.