Phil Jackson, apparently emboldened by a long career and large family, paid a visit to pox-illated/quarantined guard Steve Blake on Thursday night, hoping to keep him in the loop with some game film. While not a licensed physician, Jackson offered a smiling assessment of Blake's physical state.
"He looks very speckled."
Blake told Jackson he's feeling better, and though the Lakers would love to see him in the lineup for Sunday's Game 1 against New Orleans, more likely his return will have to wait until next week. Matt Barnes, who missed the final two regular-season games thanks to residual problems with his surgically repaired right knee, didn't practice Friday but was classified by Jackson as "probable" for the opener.
No disrespect to either, but on the injury news front for the Lakers, both are the equivalent of Sweetwater and Melanie playing Friday at Woodstock while everyone waited around for Hendrix later in the weekend. The headliner for the purple and gold today was Andrew Bynum, and his performance (to painfully extend the metaphor) couldn't have been better. Three days after hyperextending his right knee against the Spurs, suffering a bone bruise as a result, Bynum participated in practice and reported no ill effects. Barring an unexpected setback, Bynum should be in the lineup Sunday afternoon.
"I'm fine," Bynum said. "I'll be alright. It's nothing that's not normal for me at this point."
Having already suffered a bone bruise in his other knee earlier this season, Bynum said this one isn't much different. "It's the same thing. It just hurts for a little while and then it goes away." Everything else, he said, checks out. He has fluid in the knee, but Bynum reminded everyone there's always fluid ("My normal is a little bit skewed," he said), and nothing requiring it be drained. Even with the new injury, Bynum said he's absolutely better off physically heading into this postseason than either of the last two.
Lakers fans won't uncross their fingers yet, but Friday's news was about as good as it could get.
Click below the jump for more video from Jackson, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant.
Jackson on Bynum and the matchup against New Orleans:
Kobe Bryant practiced today, generally the exception to the rule. Here, Jackson comments on how Bryant's practice schedule affects the team, along with questions about Blake, Barnes, and more matchups with New Orleans:
Bryant, on gearing up for the postseason, and the craziness of this regular season relative to others:
Gasol, on what the Lakers need to do in an effort to build towards a third title in three years, plus what changes for the Hornets with Carl Landry in the lineup as opposed to David West: