Bryant suffered a broken nose and a concussion during last Sunday's NBA All-Star Game. An examination Wednesday, however, revealed the discomfort Bryant had been feeling was related to a neck strain rather than the concussion.
He took the court against the Timberwolves wearing a protective mask and still managed to make 11-of-23 shots from the field and 9-of-10 from the foul line.
Los Angeles led by six at halftime and then outscored Minnesota by 18 in the third quarter. The Lakers moved within a half game of the Los Angeles Clippers for the lead in the Pacific Division.
Minnesota had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell back to .500 for the season.