Bynum plays 5 on 5
It was another step in Andrew Bynum’s recovery as he attempts to play in a game before the regular season ends.
Bynum played in five-on-five competition with his Lakers teammates at practice Saturday, the first time that has happened for the center since he tore a medial collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 31.
This came on the heels of Bynum’s three-on-three session at Thursday’s practice and working on drills before Friday night’s game.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was asked after the workout how soon Bynum would be back playing again.
“What’s soon?” Jackson countered.
Well, like tonight, when the Lakers face the Clippers at Staples Center.
“I’m not going to say he’s going to play tomorrow,” Jackson said. “But it’s going to be a day-to-day type of thing. We’re just going to see how he reacts to work, see what the swelling reaction is to that and then go from there.”
Bynum, who has missed 30 games, yearns to play now. But he’ll leave that decision in the hands of Jackson and the Lakers’ brass.
“If it was up to me, I would try to play tomorrow,” Bynum said. “But it’s not up to me. I’ve just got to take it one step at a time and keep moving.”
Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol didn’t play in the five-on-five games.
But it still was enough for Bynum to bang some bodies, to run the court, to test himself.
“It’s the next progression,” Bynum said. “I played three on three full contact. I’ve been doing stuff up and down the court. I hadn’t played five on five.
“It still was like a ‘baby” five on five. By that, I wouldn’t say everybody was playing 100%. It was just because I need to get back in shape. It was fun. I definitely wanted to try to see what it’s like in a real game. Whenever the doctors clear me to do that, that’s when I’m going to do it.”
Bynum was asked how his conditioning was.
“Terrible,” Bynum said. “But it’s coming back.”
After Friday night’s win over Houston, Jackson entered the Lakers’ locker room and issued a warning to his players about not overlooking their next opponent, the lowly Clippers.
Jackson cited examples of what pitfalls a team can face.
He told them about how a Dallas team trying to stay ahead of Phoenix for the eighth playoff spot lost to a Memphis team that’s headed to the lottery, about how Utah was defeated at home by Minnesota and how New Orleans was beaten by a sub.-500 Golden State team.
“We have the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings [Tuesday night] coming up as our next two games, so don’t take them lightly and be prepared,” Jackson said.
Fisher OK with minutes
Though he’s 34, has played in 76 games and is averaging 30.5 minutes, Fisher said he’s feeling good at this time of the season.
“I definitely know that I’ve played 76 games this year,” Fisher said. “So I do feel the effects of a long NBA season. But I’m thankful that there’s not anything [injured] that’s sticking out. I don’t have anything that I’m constantly having to monitor day in and day out overall.”