National Basketball Association
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                  === Kobe-less Lakers entertain T'Wolves ===
 (  - 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
 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.
 12/20 10:32:08 ET