Bryant out against Bulls

Chicago, IL ( - Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant cited "old age" and "sore knees" as his reasons for sitting out Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bulls.

"It's extremely difficult, especially playing here, playing on Christmas Day and playing in this city. I love playing here," Bryant said while speaking to reporters. "The fans have always been great. There's always a lot of energy in the building. At the same time, I've just got to try to be smart. It's really going against my nature, but I've got to be smart about this."

The 36-year-old Bryant, who is averaging 24.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists, did not play in Tuesday's home win over Golden State. Thursday was to have been his 16th career game played on Christmas Day.

"Old age. My knees are sore at this stage of the season," Bryant commented. "My Achilles are sore, both of them. My metatarsals are tight, back is tight. I just need to kind of hit the reset button.

"When I have a couple of days, the body realizes how messed up it is. Everything else starts hurting."

Bryant currently averages 35.4 minutes played over 27 contests this season, but his court time will be cut down.

"I'll get back to being healthy like I was at the start of the season," he said.