Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Scott denied that it was taking a toll on the team with Bryant’s absences.“It’s not a distraction. It’s just our way of life right now,” Scott said. “This is what we have to do to maintain him getting him where he needs to be at the end of this season and to next season.“It’s hard on him physically as well as mentally. He’s such a competitor and he wants to play. But I’m glad he trusts me enough to determine whether we need him to play or not. He trusts me. I trust him. It’s a process.”Scott also said that Bryant is not tarnishing his reputation in the twilight of his career.“This is not going to mess with his legacy whatsoever. His legacy is set,” Scott said. “From a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint, he wants to play. Sometimes you’ve got to save players from themselves. I don’t want to play him 35-36 minutes where at the end of this season or next season he’s spent.“He signed a two-year deal, and he wants to play those two years out and play at a high level. We want to preserve him as much as possible.”Hill, Price probableSo Bryant is expected to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, preserving the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James showdown.The Lakers are also expecting to have other reinforcements.Lakers forward Jordan Hill, who hyperextended his knee against Miami on Tuesday, told reporters he was “feeling good” but was a little sore. He is listed as probable against Cleveland, seemingly escaping a more serious injury.“He feels good. Said his knee is sore, but he did not have an MRI this morning, and that was a good sign,” Scott said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. We’ll see if he can go through the walkthrough.”Scott said point guard Ronnie Price had an MRI on his elbow and was waiting to hear from the medical staff. Price is listed as probable for Thursday. Lakers coach Byron Scott joked after Tuesday’s ugly loss to the Miami Heat that he might need a bottle of vodka nearby if he watched the game film.Scott admitted Wednesday that he sometimes loses sleep trying to figure out how to coax more wins from the team.Perhaps the idea of trying to keep Kobe Bryant in the mix is also causing some restless moments for Scott.Bryant’s workload continues to be a major discussion, particularly in light of a poor performance Tuesday in which he was 3 of 19 from the field and just 2 of 9 from 3-point range. He also missed another potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. Bryant missed six of the last 12 games before Tuesday, including the previous two games, to rest his aging 36-year-old body that has 19 years of NBA wear and tear.But Scott shot down the idea of shutting down Bryant for the rest of the season.“There have been no discussions between myself and Mitch (Kupchak, Lakers general manager). We have come nowhere near that point,” Scott said. “It will continue to be a game-by-game situation. We will continue to address it. I’m pretty sure if we are nowhere near playoff contention, we might discuss it, but there have been no discussions to this point.”Scott said he will continue to find ways to “preserve” Bryant, who is scheduled to make $23.5 million this season and $25 million next season.Bryant rarely practices these days. He has a 32-minute cap when he plays, whether there is overtime or not. He is scheduled to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, then take Friday off against the Utah Jazz as part of the Lakers’ plan to hold him out on the back end of back-to-back games.