The Lakers finished studying game video of the ever-familiar Utah Jazz on Saturday before turning their attention to something else they've experienced — an Andrew Bynum knee injury.
The 22-year-old center is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Utah because of a small tear in some cartilage in his right knee.
Bynum had been playing pain-free with a smaller tear in the area that worsened slightly when he sustained a hyper-extended knee Friday against Oklahoma City. He might need surgery to repair it after the season.
Bynum played 27 minutes Friday but had only six points and four rebounds. He is day-to-day as the Lakers get ready to begin the Western Conference semifinals against the Jazz.
"There's some issues," Coach Phil Jackson said Saturday. "He's hoping to play if he's asymptomatic."
If Bynum is unable to play, Pau Gasol will start at center and Lamar Odom will move from the bench to starting power forward.
The original tear was discovered last June when Bynum had an MRI after the season, the Lakers said Saturday.
"He didn't know he had it," team spokesman John Black said. "It didn't bother him. No symptoms whatsoever, but it showed up radiologically. He's been playing with that and just recently with the hyper-extension, it's gone from a very small tear to a small tear."
Bynum was not available for comment Saturday. He averaged 12 points and 6.2 rebounds in the first round.
Meanwhile, the Lakers emerged from a duck-and-cover series against the young, feisty Thunder to face the methodical, veteran Jazz for the third time in as many years.
Will the Lakers' dominance continue against the Jazz? And who exactly is left on the Jazz?
The Lakers have recent history firmly on their side, winning three of four games against the Jazz this season by an overwhelming average of 17.7 points, including a 96-81 laugher back in February — without Kobe Bryant and Bynum — in Utah.
The Lakers also haven't had to worry much about Utah in the playoffs, knocking the Jazz out in five games last season and six in 2008.
Anyone who thinks the Lakers are dinged up should take a look at Utah, which beat Denver in six games in the first round despite missing two starters. Center Mehmet Okur is out until next season because of a torn Achilles' tendon, and power forward Andrei Kirilenko hasn't played since March 26 because of a strained left calf. Kirilenko, a part-time starter this season, is expected to return this series, though not for Game 1.
The injuries didn't hurt the Jazz much against Denver. In fact, Utah leads all playoff teams in scoring through one round, averaging 110.5 points a game.
Deron Williams has become one of the top point guards in the league, if not the top, blending a scorer's touch with a glut of assists. He averaged 25.8 points and 11.3 assists in the first round, making quick work of Nuggets veteran Chauncey Billups.
"He's one of the elite guards, no doubt," Jackson said.
Derek Fisher will be in charge of guarding Williams, though Bryant and Ron Artest might also take turns on him.
Artest held Thunder forward Kevin Durant to 25 points a game, five below his regular-season average, and 35% accuracy, well below his season accuracy of 47.6%, but his assignment was expected to shift from one person to a variety that would include power forwards Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap.
"I said, ‘I hope you understand there are four guys, five guys perhaps if Kirilenko plays, that you can be matched up with,' " Jackson said. "He's well aware of it."
Vujacic still out
Lakers reserve guard Sasha Vujacic continued to be sidelined by a severely sprained left ankle but said he hoped to return near the end of the Utah series.
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