Andrew Bynum will be back, but how long will he last?
Andrew Bynum will be back soon.
“We don’t know whether he can play six minutes a half or play 10 minutes a half,” said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, already downplaying expectations of a player who hasn’t been in a game since March 19. “We’ll look and see how his conditioning is and measure it from there after Friday and Saturday if things go right.”
Bynum has missed 13 games because of a strained left Achilles’ tendon but has gradually increased his workload this week. He is expected to play Sunday in the Lakers’ playoff opener against Oklahoma City, but how long will he last?
Jackson was ready for anything.
“Being asymptomatic is really an issue and he may not be asymptomatic after five minutes,” Jackson said. “It may start to affect him in a way in which he has to come out of the ballgame. If it’s something that bothers him in the first half, will we play him in the second half?”
Bynum took part in Wednesday morning’s shoot-around, his first on-court work since sustaining the injury.
He felt minor pain near his ankle bone whenever he jumped but said it would not hinder him. He seemed eager to go through a full practice Friday.
“Obviously it’s going to be different when I’m on the court with your ankles and kind of turning them and stuff like that,” Bynum said. “That’s just the last step, though.”
Bynum will take part in some one-on-one drills with contact Thursday, perhaps against assistant coach Brian Shaw or “whatever else we can get out there to body up against him,” Jackson said.
It won’t be reserve center DJ Mbenga, for sure.
“DJ would not be just a mild-mannered dummy out there,” Jackson said, understating Mbenga’s unpredictable hard-charging style, even in practice.
Reserve guard Jordan Farmar, who sustained a strained left hamstring Tuesday against Sacramento, felt significantly better and said he would “absolutely” play Sunday.
Kobe Bryant sat out another game because of lingering pain from his broken right index finger and has also had to fight through swelling in his right knee and a sore left ankle this season.
Has his game had to change because of the physical toll on his body?
The difference between present-day Bryant and the one from a few years ago is “the inability to just go over people and shoot the ball with people on him or at him,” Jackson said.
“I think that’s something he has to adjust to — individual versus three or four players, sometimes he would draw a crowd and still rise above the crowd to score or to get fouled. I think those are things that now has to measured and weighed.”
Jackson wasn’t worried about him for the playoffs.
“I think he’s going to be just fine,” he said.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, in addition to the exit interviews planned at team headquarters, said he was going to see the doctor Thursday for a routine checkup on his surgically repaired knee.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’ll keep taking it step by step….When I start running on the treadmill, that will be the next big one, that’ll be a plateau, I guess.”
Griffin is not sure when he will be allowed to resume basketball-related activities.
“The good thing about this injury — not good — but I’m not coming back to play immediately this season,” he said. “I’m not worried about an exact date. I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to hit the ground running.”