Andrew Bynum Will Play in Game 4
Lakers coach Phil Jackson, after watching Bynum stagger through a two-point, two-rebound showing in eight foul-plagued minutes Sunday, said his center might miss some game time due to the torn meniscus in his right knee. But, after talking to Bynum on Monday, the coach said he has no plans now to sit him.
"I was worried he was impinging his ability to play by concern about his health and his status, and he says he's OK,'' said Jackson, whose Lakers lost 118-109 Sunday to Phoenix and now have their lead in the Western Conference finals cut to 2-1. "I wanted to talk to him [Monday] morning and he said he was fine.''
Jackson said he watched a tape of the game. He saw one play early in the second quarter that offered some reassurance.
"There was a play when [Suns guard Goran] Dragic took the ball to the basket and made a three-point basket, and Drew came over and picked up his third foul (of four for the game),'' Jackson said of Bynum, who has averaged just 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in his past five games, well below his regular-season averages of 15.0 and 8.3. "He came down on his knee and he was able to hold his own without a problem.''
Jackson said one reason for Bynum being hampered more lately is his knee brace having been adjusted. Jackson said the brace "doesn't give full extension now so he's running with limited extension.''
In Bynum's mind, he never has had any doubt about starting Tuesday's Game 4.
"That's my plan,'' Bynum said. "(Jackson) says what he says. (What Jackson said on Sunday) doesn't really affect me. I guess he's trying to motivate me. But I'm cool, man."
Bynum said that while his meniscus is torn he's not doing any further damage to it by playing. Bynum, who aggravated the injury in Game 4 of a first-round series against Oklahoma City, said arthroscopic surgery had been considered earlier in the playoffs but it was decided not to do so.
"I was quoted five weeks [being out],'' said Bynum, who does plan to have surgery during the offseason.
Jackson, though, said Bynum could have been sidelined longer had the surgery been done during the playoffs.
"Andrew, at the start of the playoffs, we definitely discussed holding him back and having a procedure done similar to what Brandon Roy had done,'' said Jackson, referring to the Portland guard who missed just nine days earlier in the playoffs after arthroscopic knee surgery. "But it just didn't make sense for Andrew. Too long a duration. Andrew has responded to everything that he has done (before with this injury and with knee injuries in 2008-09 and last season and) it's taken longer. Three or four weeks could have been six or eight. It was too late.''
So Bynum will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday. But after being outscored 41-19 in the series by Suns center Robin Lopez, including 20-2 Sunday, plenty of eyes will be on how he looks.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson