As the Los Angeles Lakers gear up for the 2012 NBA Playoffs, they will likely be a man down for most if not all of the entire first round given the seven-game suspension handed down to Metta World Peace. NBA commish David Stern gave World Peace his punishment last night for hitting James Harden with his elbow on Sunday night that resulted in a concussion.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant had a few words for the press about the entire situation and resulting suspension, but refused to speculate on the actual hit itself.
“It’s hard to get into a guy’s head and know exactly what happened in that situation,” Bryant said. “I haven’t really spoken to him about it. You’ve really got to ask him.”
While Harden has yet to return, Bryant did say that World Peace would have to stay focused in his time away from the team.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Bryant said. “James, from what I hear, is OK. As far as Metta goes, he has to focus on himself, and however many games they give him, they give him. He just has to be prepared, and when he comes back, just step right in and be ready to go.”
Bryant also noted the team lost him at the wrong time given that the roster had come together quite well in recent days.
“He was playing extremely well,” Bryant continued. “It happened. When he comes back, he’s going to be playing the same way he was playing before he left, if not better. He’ll have time off. He’ll have a chance to get in even better shape. He might be better when he comes back.”
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