Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant is out for the season with a severely sprained ankle that he suffered in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday.
Calling the injury his worst in 13 seasons, Bryant blamed Hawks player Dahntay Jones for "playing dirty."
According to The Washington Post, Bryant was injured when he landed awkwardly on Jones’s foot as he attempted a potentially game-winning layup in the final seconds of the Lakers’ 96-92 loss to the Hawks at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
X-rays of Bryant's ankle were negative but the Lakers say their bread and butter playmaker is "out indefinitely."
Bryant who has earned a reputation as the biggest whiner in the NBA, emailed Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarnowski to say that Jones “threw his hip and lower body into mine on the shot. That’s a foul with 100 percent certainty. Dirty and dangerous play. Doesn’t belong in the game.”
But Jones saw the play differently. Like most tech-savvy public figures today, Jones took to a social networking platform to defend himself.
"Tape doesn't lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man," he tweeted early this morning.
Jones continued: "Leg kick that makes contact with a defensive player is an offense foul. Period. The nba changed that rule 2 yrs ago. Stop it!"
"I have the utmost respect for @kobebryant I would never try to intentionally hurt him. Just wanted to contest the fadeaway #thatsall"
But Jones and Bryant have history together. Jones was hit with 2 flagrant fouls after tangling with Bryant in the 2009 Western Conference finals.
"Now what happened in 09' I am not proud of but it was a heated playoff series with a championship on the line," Jones tweeted.
"Dangerous play. That should've been called period," Bryant tweeted about an hour after Jones explained his side.
After the game, Bryant told reporters that Jones “Jalen Rose’d me,” referencing a similar ankle injury he suffered in the 2000 NBA Finals.
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