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BRYANT DECIDES NOT TO HAVE HAND SURGERY

Kobe Bryant was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right pinkie finger Thursday and the Lakers All-Star has decided not to have surgery that could sideline him for six weeks.

The damage occurred when Bryant dislocated the finger at New Jersey on Feb. 5, and was aggravated in Wednesday night's game at Minnesota.

The team said Thursday that the damage was more extensive than first believed. There is a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament and avulsion fracture, in which a small bone fragment had been pulled off by a tendon.

Bryant was examined in Los Angeles by Dr. Steven Shin, a hand specialist who recommended surgery to repair the ligament.

"My current thinking is to give my finger some treatment and rest for a few days, and hope I can still continue to compete at a high level after that rest," Bryant said in statement.

"I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer's Olympic Games. But this is an injury that myself and the Lakers medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis."

It was unclear if Bryant will play in Sunday's All-Star Game at New Orleans, but he has already withdrawn from the 3-point contest. Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas replaced him.

Mav holding up deal for Kidd ponders trade

DALLAS - Devean George, who used his "early Bird rights" - which come from being on his second one-year deal - to nix a deal that would have sent him to the Nets so the Mavs could get point guard Jason Kidd, wants to talk to his agent about his options.

So, for now at least, the blockbuster deal that also involved Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop and Maurice Ager going to New Jersey and Malik Allen and Antoine Wright going to Dallas is off.

"I've got to do what's best for me," George said late Wednesday. "My agent wants me to wait until he can talk to me and explain what the risks are ... instead of just jumping the gun."

Whether this is a setback or a deal-breaker will be determined in the coming days. The trade deadline is Thursday.

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