Bynum's knee, Kobe's minutes on target

The Lakers and Andrew Bynum were hopeful an earlier schedule with consecutive days off between playoff games might ease the pain of a torn meniscus in the center's right knee. This hasn't been the case, and Bynum reported before the Western Conference finals it was actually feeling worse.

On the bright side, however, the quickened pace of playing every other day during Games 3 and 4 against Phoenix hasn't led to more pain.

"The knee's doing OK," said the center after Wednesday's practice. "It's about the same since the playoffs started. I think it'll remain the same until I get it fixed."

The injury has rendered Bynum sporadically effective during recent games. After an eight-minute Game 3 cameo against Phoenix with just two points and four fouls, Phil Jackson said he was debating sitting Bynum over health concerns. The coach changed his mind the next day.

Kobe Bryant played 43 minutes during Game 4's loss and has averaged 41.5 minutes per game during the series against Phoenix. Jackson was asked if the guard could play even more.

"I had the ability and the latitude because we came back and took the lead at the end of the third quarter to rest him a minute or so. In the fourth quarter,
where there's -- I hate to say these extended timeouts -- but where there are three timeouts every three minutes, players can play through those quite handily that are conditioned. He really wants to be there and I think that he can do that. But I don't do it any further than that.

"I don't believe it, I think he's got to have some rest and some time off the court, too. But in the challenging part of the game, he's got to be there," Jackson said.

Andy Kamenetzky writes the Land O' Lakers blog for ESPNLosAngeles.com