Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum on mend

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It is two days into Lakers training camp and in at least one regard it feels just like last season's playoffs: Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum are sitting out of practice.

Both players are recovering from offseason surgery on their right knees. Bryant has ramped up his training in the last six weeks leading up to camp, but is taking a cautious approach now that he's back with the team.

"We're trying to take it step by step and continue to try to progress every day, that's all," Bryant said. "It's feeling pretty good, it's just getting conditioning back in the knee. It's getting there; you just got to get on the court and move around a little bit and build up the strength and stamina in the muscle."

The 15-year veteran said he has played "a little bit but nothing too extensive" on the court over the weekend, although he did tell a member of the team's support staff to meet him back at the gym at 9 p.m. on Sunday night to get some shots up.

Bynum's recovery is moving considerably slower. The 23-year-old center was ordered by doctors this week to refrain from putting any pressure on his knee for four weeks and Bynum estimated he wouldn't be able to make his regular-season debut until late November.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson took umbrage with that time frame on Sunday. Jackson suggested Bynum would miss "two-three weeks" and when told about Bynum's late November target date said, "Yeah, we don't know about that, but we'll see."

The team had another injury pop up Sunday when Steve Blake rolled his left ankle, suffering a mild sprain while being guarded by Sasha Vujacic at the end of practice.

"Sasha gave him a little extra push," Jackson said. "It's a highly competitive drill we end with. These things happen."

It is unknown whether Blake will be available Monday for the team's two scheduled practice sessions, but Jackson liked what he saw from the point guard so far.

"Steve Blake had a big influence on our practice today just organizing his team," Jackson said. "They're actually the team that had the lead [in the intrasquad scrimmage] before he went down."

At least the 65-year-old Jackson is looking spry.

"He looks better than he did last year," Bryant said about the coach. "He looks great. He has a lot of energy; he moves around extremely well. He looks good."

As the team is integrating five new players into the roster from last season, the breakout star in the early going seems to be second-round draft pick Devin Ebanks, selected No. 43 out of West Virginia, who is in camp on a partially guaranteed contract.
He received a stamp of approval from the offensive maestro Bryant on his scoring ability ("I think Ebanks has shown a lot of promise in terms of versatility in terms of the things he can do offensively," Bryant said) and from former defensive player of the year Ron Artest on his skill at disrupting the other team's offense as well ("Devin is a really good defender, people are going to be surprised when they see how he can play defense," Artest said).
Jackson got in on the praise as well: "Ebanks was very active, very active and it looks like he can be a pretty good defender too."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcten.