Lakers center Andrew Bynum plans to start Friday's game against Philadelphia
Lakers center Andrew Bynum plans to start Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers and reported no pain or swelling in his right knee after Thursday's practice, two signs he's making progress with the conditioning of the surgically repaired knee.
"It was fine," Bynum said at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. "It was nothing."
The only treatment Bynum received on his knee entailed therapy and ice, two procedures considered fairly routine. The only limitations involve what he calls his "explosiveness," a quality Bynum says will improve with more repetition. It's been 15 days since Bynum returned to the Lakers' lineup after spending all of training camp and the first month and a half of the regular season recovering from the offseason surgery. But Bynum made particular progress this week and was the lone bright spot in the Lakers' 97-82 loss Tuesday to the San Antonio Spurs with an efficient 10 points on four-of-four shooting in 22 minutes, though he went two of eight from the free-throw line.
Bynum made his first start of the season in the Lakers' 103-88 victory Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets, helping end the Lakers' three-game losing streak, playing an integral role on defensive rotations and post presence and scoring 18 points on eight-of-12 shooting in 30 minutes.
"We knew we would have to make this move eventually, getting Drew out there on the floor," said Jackson, who had originally estimated that Bynum wouldn't return to the starting lineup for at least a couple of weeks. "It would take a little bit of an experimental stage and getting-to-know-you stage again. Fortunately, we came through it with flying colors. I thought it would be a lot more clumsy than it happened to be."
Still, anything involving Bynum entails continuous concern over his health. Jackson said he is always curious how Bynum responds a day after activity, particularly on a back-to-back. But a night after testing out his jumping, including an alley-oop lob from Kobe Bryant, Jackson said Bynum told him before practice that he "felt OK."
"The only way to get in shape is to play game-time minutes," Bynum said. "You can practice and you can run on the court, but it's not the same. "The longer you're out there on the floor, the more comfortable you're going to be and the more in shape you're going to get. Everything just works itself out."
-- Mark Medina
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