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Kobe to skip Lakers’ game in Portland on Monday

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Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, left, talks with head coach Byron Scott, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 112-110.

LOS ANGELES >> Kobe Bryant will skip the Los Angeles Lakers’ game in Portland on Monday to rest.

Coach Byron Scott made the announcement before the Lakers’ home game against Indiana on Sunday night. The Lakers also will be without starting forward Wesley Johnson, who strained his right hip flexor during the game.

The Lakers are trying to preserve the health of their 36-year-old superstar, who is in his 19th NBA season. Bryant skipped three straight games last month after feeling worn down.

The Lakers’ brief trip to Portland is in the middle of three games in four nights for the Lakers. Scott says Bryant won’t even make the trip.

Bryant recently became the third-leading scorer in NBA history. He is fourth in the league this season with 23.8 points per game.

Bryant played just six games in the previous 18 months before this season, recovering from two major injuries.

Johnson was hurt late in the first half against the Pacers, and he didn’t return to the game. He will have an MRI on Monday.

Johnson has started all 33 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 9.7 points per game. Jordan Hill is the only remaining Los Angeles player who has started every game this season.

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