Lakers to face Kings in San Diego Thursday

Game scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

SAN DIEGO - The Los Angeles Lakers will make their annual appearance in San Diego Thursday facing the Sacramento Kings at Valley View Casino Center, but Kobe Bryant will be sidelined for the second consecutive preseason game because of a strained and bruised right foot.

Bryant suffered the injury when he accidentally made contact with a Kings' player in the third quarter of Sunday's 99-92 loss at Staples Center.

Center Dwight Howard is expected to return to action after missing Wednesday night's 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, according to John Black, the Lakers' vice president of public relations. The team decided not to play Howard in back-to-back games.

Howard missed the Lakers' first five preseason games because he was not medically cleared to play following back surgery.

The Lakers are 0-7 in preseason play, including two losses to Sacramento, which is 4-2.

Tonight's game will be the first time the Lakers have been coached in San Diego by Mike Brown, a 1992 University of San Diego graduate.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Brown, who was named as the Lakers' coach on May 31, 2011, succeeding Phil Jackson, who retired after 11 seasons with the team.

"I wish we were playing at the University of San Diego, but I don't know if the Busses like playing in a gym that seats 5,500," Brown said, referring to the family that owns the team.

Tickets remain available, Black told City News Service. Bryant also missed the Lakers' last game in San Diego, a 120-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 21, 2010 when he was given the night off by Jackson as he continued to recover from off-season surgery on his right knee.

The Lakers have been scheduled to play an exhibition game in San Diego each year since 1999, but two games have been canceled.

The 2007 game was canceled because of the wildfires burning throughout San Diego County. A game planned for Oct. 25, 2011 against the Clippers was canceled because of the NBA's lockout of its players after it was unable to reach an agreement with the union representing its players on a new collective bargaining agreement.

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