Kobe to sit out big game versus Spurs

When the Los Angeles Lakers suit up to play against the team just ahead of them in the standings on Wednesday night, the San Antonio Spurs, Kobe Bryant will not be suiting up with them.

He will be wearing a suit, but one that injured players wear, as Bryant sits out his third game in a row with an inflamed left shin that was originally injured a week and a half ago in a win versus the New Orleans Hornets.

“Really, the only way to stop [the inflammation] is to shut him down,” Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told ESPN.com on Saturday.

Even with him not playing, he contributes.

“I felt like [Bryant] really brought the group closer together [against New Orleans] because he was so engaged with what we had going on throughout the entire course of the game, whether it was with the coaches or with the players or with the players and coaches together,” Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. “He was always in the mix and when you see your leader like that in the mix, it kind of makes everybody else want to be a part, too.”

With a 1.5 game lead over the L.A.-city rival Clippers, every game from now until the end of the season counts. The Lakers and Clippers both want to have that number three seed going into the playoffs, so that they do not have to play the Oklahoma City Thunder until the Conference Finals.

Lakers-Spurs tips off at 8:30 ET.