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Lakers' Bryant expects to play in season opener against Bulls

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist Monday, doesn't believe the injury will prevent him from playing in the season opener Sunday against the Bulls, ESPN.com reported.

"I should be fine," Bryant said after practice Thursday, though he just received treatment. "It's always been in my nature to try to figure out a way to play. The injuries that I've had, I've been fortunate enough to be able to play through them because I haven't had injuries where they could get worse the more I played on them."

Bryant, 33, had an MRI exam Wednesday after falling during an exhibition loss to the Clippers.

Bryant said there was no risk of damaging the wrist further by playing. "The ligament is gone, so there's nothing I can do about it," he said. "But I've dealt with so many hand injuries. It should be all right."

Nets' Lopez injured; team trades for Okur

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Nets will be without center and leading scorer Brook Lopez for a couple of months because of a broken right foot, so later in the day the team traded a future second-round draft pick to the Jazz for center Mehmet Okur.

Lopez, who did not miss a game in his first three seasons, was injured Wednesday and will have surgery today.

Lopez, who averaged 20.4 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, played in the second half with the injury, a stress fracture to the slow-healing fifth metatarsal.

The Nets would not say how long Lopez will be sidelined, but a medical expert said it could be 6-12 weeks.

After the lockout ended, the Nets had been talking to Orlando about a making a deal for center Dwight Howard, with New Jersey said to be offering Lopez, 23, as part of the package.

Former King's heart okay, rep says: Chuck Hayes, who had his contract voided by Sacramento after he failed a physical, was cleared by Cleveland Clinic doctors after a series of heart tests, his public-relations representatives said. Hayes, 28, had the tests done after the team's stress echocardiogram last week showed an abnormality. The Kings then voided his four-year, $21.3 million deal. The Sacramento Bee reported late Thursday that Hayes is now likely to re-sign with the Kings as early as today for four years and $1 million more than the original deal the forward -center signed on Dec. 9.

Lakers' Bryant expects to play in season opener against Bulls 12/22/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 12:15am]

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