UPDATE: 7:30 pm PT- Scroll down for video from Bynum and Phil.
The Lakers, after a day of physical rest (they met for a team meeting Wednesday night) hit the court in El Segundo for a vigorous practice running nearly two-and-a-half in length. Some highlights in easily digestible quasi-bullet form:
-Andrew Bynum completed his first run since injuring his left Achilles tendon, and declared himself groovy. In a manner of speaking, at least. "I felt very good," he said. "No pain. It went good." Because he was all excited following the long layoff, we'll forgive the poor grammar. Phil Jackson was happy to have him back. ""We're very pleased. He's certainly not in any space where he feels like he's back, I'm sure, but we're pleased he was able to run and play and participate," Jackson said.
PJ wouldn't make any projections as to Bynum's playing time on Sunday- they'll wait to see how he feels Saturday, then again following tomorrow's practice. For his part, Bynum thinks his wind will be short, but he'll be able to play effectively against the Thunder. (For more, check out this super-newsy writeup I put together. You can practically see the "PRESS" tag on my fedora...)
-Kobe Bryant, who missed the final two games of the regular season with injuries to basically everything on his body, also returned to the court. The rest, he said, did him good. "I feel pretty good," he said. "It felt good to get up and down... My legs feel better. The ankle thing was kind of lingering a little bit, so that feels a lot better. Rest never hurts." Certainly not if you're doing it right. Is Kobe "healthy?" Probably not, but he's healthier, which is an improvement.
-Of course, if two guys come back from injury, someone has to get hurt, right? Today, the Wheel of Misfortune landed on D.J. Mbenga, who took an inadvertent elbow to the noggin and was sent to a neurologist with a possible concussion. Initially, it was said Bynum delivered the blow, something Drew vehemently denied. "They didn't want to tell you the truth," he said with a smile. "I wasn't even on the floor."
-PJ played coy when asked about Kevin Durant's response to his comments about the way in which the young star is treated by the officials. "I really didn't know what he was upset about," Jackson said. "It really wasn't that upsetting. He shot the most free throws in the league; he made the most free throws in the league. He shot the most shots in the league; he made the most shots in the league. I voted for him on the All-Star team; he made the All-Star team. We know he's a great player, congratulations."
You'll note Phil is apparently not done screwing with Durant. The good news is Jackson may be 35K lighter in the wallet, but believes when the tax man comes next April, he'll get a benefit. "That's a gift to NBA charities," he smiled. "NBA Cares, they care a lot about me." With the room now laughing hard, Jackson decided to, like George Costanza, leave on a high note. "I got to get out of here before start something else."
-Derek Fisher revealed Sasha Vujacic backed out of an apparent "playoff beard" pact. Not cool, man.
Bynum on his recovery. One interesting line not mentioned above, when he was asked if the injury is fully healed. "I'm not sure, but I felt good today." Bynum emphasized he'll continue getting his therapy, trying to keep his recovery heading in a positive direction.
Jackson on Kobe and Bynum's performance this afternoon. The first answers are in reference to Drew: