Walton close to return; Bynum uncertain

Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton could be back in the lineup as early as Sunday while center Andrew Bynum might still be 10 days from returning to the court.

"Luke wants to play in this Sunday's game, wants to go through a practice and play," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters before the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday. "We haven't gotten a definitive time for Andrew yet. We're hoping that next week is kind of a breakthrough and he's capable of playing by week's end. It's been 10 days and could be another 10."

Walton, who has played in only 24 games this season while battling a pinched nerve in his lower back, had previously told ESPNLosAngeles.com he was targeting Sunday's home game against the San Antonio Spurs for his return. Bynum, who is still recovering from a strained left Achilles' tendon, had also hoped to return for that game as well, but it seems more likely he will return for the Lakers' last three games at Staples Center, beginning April 11 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.