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BRYANT OPTS NOT TO HAVE HAND SURGERY

Kobe Bryant was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right pinkie finger Thursday, but 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 it 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 fracture in which a small bone fragment had been pulled off by a tendon.

A hand specialist recommended surgery, but Bryant said he wants to try rest first and delay surgery until after the season and the Olympics. He will play in the All-Star Game on Sunday, but pulled out of Saturday's 3-point shooting contest, according to an NBA news release. Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks will replace him.

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