Lakers’ Andrew Bynum expects to play again on Tuesday at Washington

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Andrew Bynum eased his way down the hallway inside Staples Center after the Lakers stirring, last-second 87-86, victory over the Clippers Wednesday night, his mind now on injured teammate Derrick Caracter.

Caracter went down in the first quarter with a sprained left ankle, leaving the Lakers even more short-handed with big men because Bynum remains out while he rehabilitates his surgically repaired right knee and backup center Theo Ratliff remains out after left-knee surgery.

Bynum, a 7-foot center, had already changed his timetable on when he might return to play, moving the date up.


So he was asked if he felt any more pressure, now that Caracter is out, to return even sooner — say Friday in Chicago against the Bulls, when the Lakers start a six-game trip back East.

“Noooo!” Bynum said emphatically.

Bynum laughed and repeated himself.

“No,” he said, smiling. “No more pressure.”

Bynum said his plan still is to return Tuesday at Washington against the Wizards.

Bynum once had said he would return in 2½ weeks.

If that date had remained the same, Bynum would be returning to play in Toronto against the Raptors on Dec. 19, the last game of the Lakers’ trip.

Then Bynum said he would get in two more practices — probably Saturday in New York and Monday in Washington — before he would be ready to play Tuesday against the Wizards.

What changed?

“Nothing in mind,” Bynum said.

Did the Lakers put more pressure on Bynum to return sooner?

“It wasn’t pressure,” Bynum said. “They just feel like I’m ready to go more than [I do].

“But, I think I’m almost there. So I agree. Obviously, I’m not going to come back and be playing 35 minutes. I’m going to come back in limited minutes. So, I should be all right. Hopefully I have good days and see how things go.”

Bynum has participated in two five-on-five practice sessions, increasing his workload each time, being more physical.

He will have missed 24 regular-season games by Tuesday.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said the team has never put any “pressure to push” Bynum to rush back.