For the briefest of moments, Coach Phil Jackson offered visions of a hale, hearty Lakers lineup in the near future when asked about Andrew Bynum's progress.
"He was on the floor shooting shots [without jumping]. . . . He looked relatively active for his condition," Jackson said Tuesday. "He was doing pretty well."
Bynum, however, won't be returning from a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee any time soon. His progress is all relative to a timetable that will keep him sidelined until at least March 30, and possibly as late as April 27.
"Until he's on the floor some time in March, we won't know anything about that," Jackson said. "The healing aspect still takes a while, so that's still something going on. When we feel like he's healed, then to do the therapy and exercises, that's going to take a while."
Bynum, out since Jan. 31, has not done much beyond flat-footed shooting. He is waiting for swelling to decrease in the knee before beginning to ride a stationary bike.
The New Orleans Hornets were expected to be front-runners in the Western Conference alongside the Lakers and San Antonio, but they stumbled to the All-Star break with the sixth-best record in the West.
So they shook up their team Tuesday by sending center Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City for veteran forward-centers Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, as well as the rights to 2008 second-round draft pick DeVon Hardin.
What does it mean for the Lakers? The Hornets (31-20) decreased their payroll but lost their top defensive presence on the inside.
Chandler has been injury-prone this season and "hasn't been playing great this year," Jackson said, but the Hornets will now be undersized in the middle.
"He had a good year last year and it was a big effect for them to have him on the team because of his shot-blocking and rebounding," Jackson said.
Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown were on the Lakers' 12-man active roster Tuesday against Atlanta and they both played for the first time since being acquired for Vladimir Radmanovic on Feb. 7.
Bynum, Sun Yue and DJ Mbenga were on the inactive roster Tuesday.
Radmanovic scored 12 points for Charlotte in a reserve role Tuesday against Orlando. He had 21 points last Wednesday against Washington.