Brown is out for a while

Times Staff Writer

Kwame Brown is out indefinitely because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee that was sustained in the Lakers’ 106-78 victory Sunday over Chicago.

The Lakers declined to provide a timetable for Brown’s return, as has become their custom on most injuries that go beyond the day-to-day variety. Most NBA players are out two to four weeks with similar injuries, although it can be longer.

The extent of the injury was revealed in an MRI exam Monday, and Brown will be re-evaluated next week.


Brown, averaging 4.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.8 minutes a game before Sunday’s early exit, has not developed reliable skills on offense, but provides solid post defense and pushes opposing centers out of comfort zones down low. He helped hold Houston center Yao Ming to six-for-18 shooting last week.

“He is a terrific defender,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “We know what Kwame can do for us.”

With Brown out of the lineup, Chris Mihm and Andrew Bynum will get increased minutes.

“Kwame gives us a defensive presence out there, but I think Andrew and I need to take that upon ourselves, shore up the middle and provide offensive punch in there too,” Mihm said.

Bynum is averaging 10.4 points and 9.7 rebounds. Mihm is averaging 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Brown was injured when Chicago center Ben Wallace crashed into his lower body after taking a charge from Kobe Bryant. Brown was helped to the locker room by Vladimir Radmanovic and Mihm, and said afterward there was a “sharp pain” in his knee.

He is not with the team for a three-game trip that begins tonight in Indiana. He also tweaked his left ankle in the collision with Wallace, but said the knee felt worse. Brown underwent reconstructive surgery on the same ankle in May.

Brown, in the last year of a three-year contract that pays him $9.1 million this season, missed 41 games last season.


Among the Lakers’ reserves are two 20-year-olds, a center trying to rehabilitate his career after a serious ankle injury, a forward trying to find traction after being dropped to the second unit, and a sharpshooter trying to rehabilitate his image after a snowboarding gaffe in April.

Despite their issues, be it inexperience, injury or otherwise, they have banded together and formed a backbone for the Lakers in an admittedly young season.

Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Radmanovic, Mihm and Bynum sparked a 73-point bench contribution against Chicago that marked the team’s highest output from reserves since an 88-point outburst in April 1988 against Golden State. Furthermore, the Lakers had not had five reserves in double-figure scoring since a March 1985 victory over Cleveland.

Nine games into the season, is this one of the top benches in the Western Conference?

When asked about it, Jackson mentioned Dallas, where scorers Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse can put up points in a hurry, and San Antonio, where Manu Ginobili is winning games with his all-around play.

“Our young guys that are coming into the game . . . I think it’s remarkable,” he said. “I think they are playing great.”



at Indiana, 4 PST; Channel 9, 5:30

Site -- Conseco Fieldhouse.

Radio -- 570; 1330.

Records -- Lakers 6-3; Pacers 4-6.

Record vs. Pacers (2006-07) -- 1-1.

Update -- The teams have split the season series the last four years, with the Lakers losing in Indiana all four times. The Pacers were potential trade partners over the summer, but the Lakers were unwilling to give up Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Jermaine O’Neal, who has struggled in the Pacers’ new up-tempo offense. O’Neal is averaging 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds this season.