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Still no date for Bynum’s return

Times Staff Writer

Andrew Bynum began his second week of jogging in a therapeutic pool, although there still wasn’t a specific target date for his return.

He hasn’t started jogging on a treadmill, the next step in his rehabilitation, making a late March or early April return date more likely.

The Lakers, however, were not concerned with Bynum’s overall progress.

“I think it’s going well,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “There’s the normal amount of pain and swelling that goes with it, but there have been no negative reactions.”

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Bynum has had three sessions in the pool and will have three or four more over the next week or so. If he feels no pain at that point, he will begin jogging slowly on the treadmill, gradually increasing his speed and distance.

Bynum won’t play in time to hit the early side of the team’s initial timetable of “at least eight weeks” for him to return. He has missed 22 games since sustaining a deep bone bruise in his left knee and a brief dislocation of the left kneecap in a Jan. 13 game against Memphis.

Bynum was unavailable for comment Thursday, although he sounded fairly hopeful when interviewed last week.

“If I’m able to run in the pool with no pain, then we’ll start building my leg up more and more,” he said at the time. “I’m making progress and I’m excited to actually run in the pool, but I’m still not back.”

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The regular season ends April 15 for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant picked up three technical fouls in a two-game stretch this week, pushing him to a season total of 11, five away from being automatically suspended by the league for one game.

“He’s close to the limit . . . so he’s going to have to be careful,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Then again, Jackson picked up a technical foul Tuesday against Portland, his first of the season.

“I didn’t think I’d get one all year. I really didn’t,” he said.

Then how did it happen?

“I just told [the referee] he should be embarrassed by making that call,” Jackson said. “He should have been. And he gave me a technical. I didn’t cuss him out. I didn’t say anything.”

Jackson still hasn’t gotten used to giving a brief interview during a pre-selected timeout in nationally televised games.

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“I forget every game,” he said. “They have to pull me off the court, wrangle me off to the sideline and ask me one question. I just don’t think there’s that much insight that comes out of something like that.

“It just doesn’t seem like there’s a great deal of knowledge from asking coach, ‘How’d that go the first quarter, how’d that go the third quarter, how are you going to stop them this quarter?’ Half the time you can hardly hear because the loudspeaker’s playing something that’s going on in the backdrop.”

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TONIGHT

at Portland, 7:30, Ch. 9

Site -- Rose Garden.

Radio -- 570, 1330.

Records -- Lakers 41-17, Trail Blazers 30-28.

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Record vs. Trail Blazers -- 1-0.

Update -- The Lakers used a fourth-quarter push to put away the Trail Blazers, 96-83, Tuesday at Staples Center. All-Star guard Brandon Roy did not play for the Trail Blazers that night and is doubtful tonight because of a sprained right ankle. The Lakers have struggled in recent seasons in Portland, losing four consecutive games.

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com


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