Before running for the hills like a crazed savage with no regard for the safety of women or children, Andrew Bynum stressed the injury itself, a right knee meniscus tear, hasn't worsened. From a structural standpoint, as David Byrne said, same as it ever was. (Granted, status quo wasn't anything to write home about, but maintaining it is preferable to pining for it.) The knee began bothering him more around third or fourth game against Utah, he said, and despite the extended break this week he's still unable to avoid residual effects, namely swelling.
“It’s just worse. A little worse, but I’m still able to play through it so I’m going to keep pushing ahead. Keeping more swelling [out]. Not like the structure, but it’s creating more swelling because I’m playing with an injured limb, so it’s just something that I’m just going to continue to treat, continue to try and pump the swelling out, milk it, and take it from there.”
Bynum will likely scale back his work during tomorrow's practice, but unless something really strange happens, he has no plans to miss Monday's Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. How effective will he be? “I’m gonna do what I can,” Drew said, believing whatever he's able to contribute can offer a positive effect. "I think I’m there for my teammates and that’s the biggest thing. Whatever it is, having to go out and just guard somebody for a couple plays so people can take [some] rest, just being that guy in the rotation is enough to help this team get through.”
One funny note: Drew, who's teaching himself Spanish through instructional tapes, was asked by Lakers Spanish language broadcaster Pepe Mantilla to give an en Espanol update on his knee. Bynum said he's not advanced enough to answer outside his native tongue. In an effort to help, Mantilla suggested the knee was "bien." Drew's response: "No, it's not bien. It's malo."
Regardless of how Bynum produces against Phoenix, Ron Artest maintains the center is making an impact by virtue of needing to account for him. If you're judging purely by the numbers, the contributions may appear minimal. Even negative. But as Artest notes, you can't ever leave him, which always creates opportunities for everyone else.
"He's very consistent. It just don't show up all the time... He's changing the game."
More importantly, Artest says, Andrew understands he can alter the game without filling up a stat sheet. As most Lakers fans know, the knock on Bynum, even during this season, has often been exactly the opposite. If Ron's praise is correct, it reflects a nice uptick in maturity.
(For more on Bynum's potential impact on the series, check out our preview with former Clippers head coach Kim Hughes.)
Maybe it was me, but I got the impression Kobe wasn't in the mood to talk with us.
Like I said, probably all in my head.