Andrew Bynum says he's optimistic he'll play in Game 5 of NBA Finals
After missing most of the second half of the Lakers' 96-89 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday because of increased swelling in his right knee, Lakers center Andrew Bynum says he remains optimistic he will play Sunday in Game 5.
"It's a little frustrating but I plan to play on Sunday," said Bynum, after scoring only two points on one-of-two shooting in 12 minutes of play.
There were a few variables that contributed to Bynum's limitation, including sitting on the bench to start the second half in favor of forward Lamar Odom. He said the swelling that flared up during the Lakers' Game 3 victory Tuesday over Boston didn't improve, causing pain and limiting his ability to get any lift.
"I was kind of a liability out there," Bynum said. "I know they're going to try to hit it and all those things and keep me out of the game. There's two days to go until Game 5 so I have to get ready for that game."
That preparation includes meeting a doctor tomorrow and undergoing constant treatment. Although he's been told by doctors that playing doesn't leave him vulnerable to structural damage in his right knee, Bynum acknowledged that the level of swelling is at his highest since injuring his knee April 30 during Game 6 of the Lakers' first-round series against Oklahoma City.
Even though Bynum saw the swelling go down during Wednesday's practice, the swelling flared up again during Thursday's shootaround, leading Jackson to wonder whether he'd be healthy enough to play in Game 4. By tip-off, the team cleared Bynum to play and Jackson planned to determine Bynum's minutes based on how his play and how he responds to the pain.
"I'm dealing with it," said Bynum, who doesn't plan on draining any fluid in his knee since the procedure he took May 31 did very little to decrease the swelling. "It kind of sucks, but you have to keep going."
The Lakers sorely missed Bynum's contributions, considering the Celtics won in many categories, including rebounds (41-34), points in the paint (54-34) and second-chance points (20-10). Glen Davis' 18 points mostly came against an overmatched Odom and was part of the Celtics' 38-point effort that helped spur them to a series-tying victory. Bynum had averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 32 minutes a game, a stat line that exceeds his playoff total this postseason in both production and playing time.
"It bothered us in the second half not having Andrew be able to come out and play the start of the second half," Jackson said. "He tried a couple minutes, but it wasn't there for him. We're glad we have a couple days off and we can kind of get him back hopefully in position where he can help us out again."
Come Sunday, Bynum hopes that's the case, even if he has to limp through the series. Said Bynum: "That's what I'm going to have to do."
--Mark Medina, in Boston
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