Lakers' Andrew Bynum eyes return

DETROIT -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum won't be ready to play by Thanksgiving, but he should be home on the court for Christmas.

Sitting in the visitor's locker room while affixing a new, tighter brace on his surgically repaired right knee before the Lakers played the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, Bynum said he hopes to return to practice with his team by Thanksgiving. Games will come sometime after that.

The original timetable for Bynum's return was expected to be a month after the Lakers' season opener on Oct. 26. Bynum was nonplussed about the delay.

"I'm not concerned with it," Bynum said. "I'm just trying to get healthy, trying to get back. My big thing is just to be in the best shape I can be when I get out there so nothing else happens. I don't want to have a setback or regress."

Bynum said the news that reserve big man Theo Ratliff is out four to six weeks and the heavy minutes being played by Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in the frontcourt has not pressured him to accelerate his comeback.

"No, because if I get hurt again, then they'll be [playing heavy minutes] the whole year," Bynum said.

Bynum accompanied the team on its three-game road trip through Milwaukee, Detroit and Minnesota and began individual on-court workouts Wednesday. He is taking it easy at the start, focusing on post-ups, jump shots and jump hooks and "a lot of running."

"Straight-line stuff," Bynum said. "No lateral stuff yet."

He reported no pain after his first day of on-court work.

"It feels pretty good," Bynum said.

The 23-year old continues to run on an outdoor track because he says the long distances are "better for your lungs" and his knees take less of a pounding than they do on the hardwood or on a treadmill.

Bynum said he is looking to "master" his individual workouts before he accompanies the team in five-on-five, full-court drills.

"If these workouts continue to go well, then hopefully I'll be on time," Bynum said. "But, if I get soreness or something like that, you have to slow down a little bit."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.