LOS ANGELES —
When Jones tweeted that Bryant was partly to blame for sticking out his legs on his jumper, Bryant responded with his own interpretation of his style: "17yrs. Countless fades. This has happened TWICE. Jalen and now."
Bryant — a relatively new arrival on Twitter — eventually reverted to his usual game face.
"I've cried foul play enough Big boy pants time for me," Bryant tweeted, recalling the phrase he used earlier this year to encourage teammate Pau Gasol to get tough. "what else is this thing for? Political correctness? Ha."
Bryant has an almost preternatural ability to play through pain, shrugging off strained knees, tweaked ankles and broken fingers to play with his usual artistry and grace while becoming the leading scorer in Lakers history. He even got a concussion and a broken nose in the 2012 All-Star game, but returned for the Lakers' next game with a mask.
Bryant routinely plays with sprained fingers, still hitting his array of creative outside shots. Although his teammates usually laugh at the idea any injury could sideline Bryant for a significant length of time, he's not impermeable to pain.
Bryant sat out eight of the Lakers' final 10 games of the regular season last spring to rest a bruised shin for the playoffs. He also missed five games with a sprained left ankle in February 2010, and missed four more late in the season to rest an assortment of injuries.
Bryant isn't the Lakers' only injury concern. Starting forward Earl Clark also sprained his right ankle during the first half in Atlanta, but the Lakers said Clark didn't break any bones, and he expects to play Friday.
Gasol has missed 17 games for the Lakers while sitting out since Feb. 7 with an injured foot. The four-time All-Star is tentatively expected to return next week, likely reclaiming a starting spot from Clark.