Brown is getting closer to return

Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Meanwhile, back at the training facility . . .

Kwame Brown was going through individual workouts Friday with trainer Chip Schaefer in an effort to get back to speed so he could practice with the Lakers after their four-game trip.

Brown has missed 17 games because of a sprained left knee and ankle, but Coach Phil Jackson was pleased with the report he received.

“We’re hoping he’s going to practice [Monday],” Jackson said. “He had a good workout.”

Chris Mihm has not played the last three games, leaving Ronny Turiaf as the Lakers’ lone backup at center.


“We need another big guy to help us out,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Thursday he had not ruled out giving Brown his starting job back. Brown was averaging 4.3 points and five rebounds when he was injured.

Andrew Bynum is averaging 11.9 points and 10.1 rebounds after his 24-point, 11-rebound effort Friday in the 106-101 victory over Philadelphia.


Magic Johnson, who owns almost 5% of the Lakers but manages to keep a critical eye, was complimentary of the team recently as a TNT analyst.

“Their bench has been playing solid and Kobe [Bryant] is trusting his teammates,” Johnson said Thursday. “The Lakers are as good as advertised.”

Johnson, however, singled out Lamar Odom as needing to be more reliable.

“We’ve been waiting on Lamar to be consistent,” Johnson said. “He’ll show you one game with 30 points and then you think, ‘What happened to that Lamar?’ three games later.”


Jackson, who pulled into a tie with Dick Motta for eighth in all-time victories (935), was in a light mood before Friday’s game.


When asked by an East Coast reporter why he decided to re-sign with the Lakers for two more seasons, he mentioned his longtime companion.

“It is related to my relationship with Jeanie Buss most of all,” he said with a smile.

Don’t look now, but Jackson, who is now 935-403, is only three victories from tying Red Auerbach in seventh place. There’s a chance Jackson passes or ties that mark Dec. 30 against Boston, which is four games away.


Bynum had one regret after his notable effort against the 76ers.

“It would have been better to get it [Sunday], right, with 38 tickets out there,” he said.

Bynum, who went to high school in New Jersey, has bought tickets for many friends and family members for Sunday’s game against New York.