Bynum is doing ‘really well’
After gruesome home losses to Charlotte and Memphis, some mildly pleasant news awaited the Lakers on Saturday.
Pau Gasol participated in a brief scrimmage and Andrew Bynum was told by Coach Phil Jackson he would accompany the team on a two-game trip next week, though he wouldn’t necessarily play.
Bynum was doing “really well” in his recovery after working his way through some patellar tendinitis in his injured left knee, Jackson said.
“It’s not really connected to his injury per se. It was just the amount of work that he’s started to be able to do, which is impressive,” Jackson said. “I told him to expect to go on the trip to Sacramento [next Sunday] and Portland [on April 8]. Whether he can play or not, it may not be that time, but he’s going to go through the workouts and practices and the pregame and whatever we have.”
The Lakers have four regular-season games left after that trip.
Gasol, who has sat out eight games because of a sprained left ankle, took part in a five-minute scrimmage at the team’s training facility, but probably won’t play tonight against Washington. He could run straight ahead Saturday without any pain but still had trouble planting and cutting, he said.
“It was a first step,” he said. “It’s still pretty sore. I’m still doubtful. We’ll see how it feels [Sunday].”
The Lakers’ next game after tonight is Wednesday against Portland.
The Lakers (49-24) could definitely use Gasol after showing an inability to control their home court against lesser teams.
Gasol sat on the bench Friday night, chin often planted on his hand, while watching Memphis, his former team, hit the Lakers with another embarrassing loss at Staples Center.
As has been the case the past few months, there were other injury updates to sift through.
Derek Fisher did not practice Saturday because of a partially torn tendon in his right foot but is expected to play against Washington. Lamar Odom missed practice while continuing to recover from an upper-respiratory infection. Also, Trevor Ariza could begin running in about two weeks. He has been out 35 games because of a broken bone in his right foot.
“If the diagnostics show that he’s had healing, he can get where he wants to get to,” Jackson said. “He goes and has [medical] pictures every two weeks and if he’s got a white line in there that shows it’s still not healing, he’s got to wait. The last news we had was he could be on the court running approximately two weeks from now.”
Chris Mihm was as surprised as anybody when Jackson looked down the bench and called his name.
He suited up for Friday’s game but didn’t expect to play. He was pressed into duty when DJ Mbenga fouled out with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Mihm had not played since Dec. 23 and had not participated in a full-court scrimmage since returning from surgery to have a screw removed from his right heel. He was scoreless with one assist in five minutes against Memphis.
“It wasn’t in the original game plan. I was going to be a cheerleader,” he said. “My goal was to be back this season and it obviously looks like it’s a reality.”
Javaris Crittenton had six points, two rebounds and one satisfying victory against the Lakers.
Crittenton, along with Kwame Brown, was sent to Memphis last month as part of the Gasol trade. Brown did not play, but the rookie guard logged 18 minutes Friday.
“Playing against your former teammates, it’s a great feeling,” he said. “It meant a little more to me than just a win.”
The Lakers were again carved up by pick-and-roll sequences, a situation that figures to worsen with Fisher fighting a foot injury.
“We have to adjust to how we are going to cover screen-and-roll, how we’re going to cover real quick guards in pick-and-roll situations,” Kobe Bryant said. “If we can’t solve that problem, then we’re going to have to continue to get penetrated on until we get the big guys back and they can bail us out by blocking shots at the basket.”
What else is wrong with the Lakers?
“Maybe they are a little tired,” Grizzlies Coach Marc Iavaroni said. “They look a little worn down. They’ve had a rough stretch and I think Kobe has been shouldering a lot of that. It’s hard to ask him to do that for both halves [of a game].”
vs. Washington, 6:30, FSN West
Site -- Staples Center.
Radio -- 570; 1330.
Records -- Lakers 49-24; Wizards 38-34.
Record vs. Wizards -- 1-0.
Update -- Despite their so-so record, the Wizards are in fifth place and practically guaranteed a playoff spot in the watered-down Eastern Conference. In their last two games, they rallied from a 17-point deficit against Seattle and a 16-point deficit against Sacramento for a pair of road victories. All-Star forward Caron Butler missed 16 games because of a hip injury, but is averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 assists and six rebounds in his last three games. The Lakers led by 24 on the way to a 103-91 victory at Washington last month without Gasol and Bynum.
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