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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant confirms he recently directed Alex Rodriguez to the German doctor who performed the treatment the Yankees’ slugger had on his right knee.

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“I gave him the phone number,” Bryant said Thursday night before the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the New York Knicks.

Bryant opened up about the steps he has taken to heal his arthritic joints in a rare pregame interview, crediting the therapy with dramatic improvement in his own troublesome right knee and an injured left ankle in recent months.

When Rodriguez inquired about Bryant’s treatment, Bryant vouched for the German doctor who developed the course of injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas.

Bryant says his knee is now 95 percent healthy after at least three surgeries in the last eight years. He apparently had the same treatment done in October on his ankle, which also isn’t limiting him this season.

“You can’t just try something just to try it,” Bryant said. “It has to make sense. It has to be something that you can back with research and study and things like that.”

And how did Bryant get information about the therapy – called Orthokine – being done in Duesseldorf?

“It’s my job to know these things,” Bryant said with a grin.

The Yankees might benefit from Bryant’s knowledge. General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that Rodriguez is “100 percent,” with “no red flags” going into spring training.

Rodriguez had surgery on his right knee last July and saw his power drop in the second half and postseason. He played in 99 games and hit 16 homers, struggling to produce at his usual prolific levels.

Bryant is far from fully healthy. He’s still playing with a torn ligament in his right wrist, wearing a brace on the joint whenever he isn’t on court.

He’s no longer wearing a wrap on the oft-injured index finger on his right hand, but that’s because the joint is now “bone on bone,” according to Bryant.

And Bryant hasn’t stopped trying new things to heal more quickly and thoroughly. Several Lakers joined him at a cryotherapy clinic in the Sacramento area on Monday, trying out an extreme cold chamber that’s thought to decrease pain and swelling in athletes.

Bryant can’t remember when his friendship with A-Rod started, but they’ve been friendly for years, going out to dinner and talking regularly. He’s grateful he could help the 36-year-old slugger get back in top shape.

“As a Yankee fan? Hell yeah,” Bryant said.


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