Back spasms forced Kobe Bryant to miss the fourth quarter of a loss at San Antonio last month. It's uncertain if his latest injury will keep him out entirely against the Spurs this time.
Bryant could miss his second straight game as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Spurs on Monday night at Staples Center.
Bothered by a sore left ankle he originally suffered at Philadelphia on Jan. 29, Bryant sat out Los Angeles' 99-82 win at Portland on Saturday. It was the first game the 12-time All-Star missed since March 7, 2007, because of a suspension.
Averaging 28.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists, Bryant was to be evaluated Sunday. It will likely be up to Bryant to determine if he's healthy enough to return as the Western Conference-leading Lakers (39-13) try for a fourth consecutive home victory over the Spurs.
"I would say he is day to day," coach Phil Jackson told the Lakers' official Web site. "We have an opportunity here with two games before the All-Star break and there is some time there if he does need to take a longer time, we're trying to give him the liberty to do that."
Bryant, who hasn't missed back-to-back contests since the sitting out the first two games of the 2006-07 season with a knee injury, is averaging 28.8 points in his last nine home games against San Antonio.
He scored 16 before leaving for good with back spasms in the third quarter of the Lakers' 105-85 loss at San Antonio on Jan. 12. The Spurs shot 57.3 percent overall and outscored Los Angeles' 30-22 in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers, though, proved it can win without Bryant. Ron Artest had 21 points and Lamar Odom matched a career high with 22 rebounds against Portland. Los Angeles held the Trail Blazers to 43.7 percent shooting and outrebounded them 47-30
"We reacted well," said forward Pau Gasol, who missed the January loss to San Antonio with a hamstring injury. "We played hard, we played well."
The Lakers will try to avoid a second straight loss at Staples Center after having their eight-game home winning streak snapped in a 126-113 loss to Denver on Friday. Los Angeles, though, has held San Antonio to 92.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting while winning four of five at home over the Spurs.
The Spurs (29-20) won't have to travel for this contest after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 98-81 on Saturday at Staples to improve to 2-1 in a season-high eight-game road trip. George Hill had 22 points and Tony Parker added 14 with 14 assists in his second game back from missing three with a sprained left ankle.
In his second season, Hill has emerged of late, averaging 17.1 points on 50.8 percent shooting while starting the last 10 games.
"George Hill's just a fantastic basketball player," coach Gregg Popovich said of the club's 2008 first-round pick who averaged 5.7 points during his rookie season. "We're really thrilled with his progress in his shooting and his approach to the game."
Tim Duncan had 25 points with 13 rebounds, Parker added 22 and Hill 13 last month against the Lakers. Duncan, though, has a combined 31 points in his last two road games versus Los Angeles.