Kobe-less Lakers entertain T'Wolves

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Just six games into his comeback from a torn Achilles, Kobe Bryant will be sidelined for a different leg injury when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday.

Bryant was diagnosed with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee and is expected to miss six weeks, minimum. He hyperextended his knee late in the third quarter at Memphis Tuesday, but finished the game in the Lakers 96-92 win.

"I knew he got scared because he hyperextended his knee, but he shook it off," Pau Gasol said. "He continued to play until the very end, which again, shows how tough Kobe is, how much he's able to play through and what he's able to play through."

Bryant returned slightly early from the Achilles tendon tear at the end of last season. He averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game over his six games this season.

As if the injury news to Bryant couldn't be worse for the Lakers, the team also announced Steve Nash would miss four more weeks with his nerve root irritation issue in his back.

Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Steve Blake (elbow) are both out. Bryant was playing point guard duties for the Lakers with all three other leaders shelved. It's unknown who will start in the backcourt for the Lakers on Friday, but reports surfaced the team signed former first-round pick Kendall Marshall, who was toiling in the D-League.

The Lakers finished their recent road trip 2-2, with both victories in the last three games. L.A. knocked off Memphis thanks to 21 from Bryant and Gasol, 18 from Nick Young and 13 from Jodie Meeks.

The Wolves have won two of three and four of six to get back to .500.

On Wednesday, Minnesota used a huge first half en route to a 120-109 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Wolves led 31-22 after one and the Wolves scored the first 10 points in the second to take control with a 41-22 advantage. The floodgates opened later in the second when the Wolves went on a 17-2 run for a 62-30 lead.

Portland made a run to cut it to eight in the fourth, but Minny held on for the victory.

"Very good win for us," said Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. "Terrific first half and they made their run and we were able to hold them off."

Nikola Pekovic poured in 30 points with nine rebounds, while Kevin Love had a double-double with 29 points and 15 boards. Kevin Martin contributed 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the win.

The Wolves spend the weekend in Los Angeles, facing the Clippers on Saturday night.

Minnesota snapped a 22-game losing streak to the Lakers with a 113-90 victory at Staples Center on Nov. 10. The T'Wolves had dropped 13 of those 22 in L.A.