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Andrew Bynum is pushing back the timetable for his return

The Lakers center, who had knee surgery in July and said last week he expected to be playing by late November, now says 'it's a possibility' he may be out until December. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant is expected to play in season opener, though not at full strength.

October 03, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from London — Somewhere amid the drear and drizzle of a fall afternoon in England were two more recovery timetables that shifted again.

Andrew Bynum now might be sidelined until December while rehabilitating his knee, and Kobe Bryant will definitely suit up for the Oct. 26 season opener but probably need two more weeks after that to regain full strength, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Bynum said a week ago he would be back in late November, a timetable that disappointed most Lakers followers, but even that prediction might have been optimistic.

Bynum said Sunday he might not be back until December.

"Yeah, it's a possibility," he said. "I've got a little bit of pain still. It just depends on when I'm cleared."

Bynum said he would see his doctor in three weeks and hoped to begin weight-bearing exercises after that. He had knee surgery in late July.

Jackson seemed perplexed by Bynum's December forecast.

"He's been saying that," Jackson said. "I don't know why he's talking about December. He can get weight-bearing activities started at the end of this month. Can you play in two weeks [after that]? Can you play in three weeks? Four weeks puts you at the end of November. So let's just let it happen and not talk about what the timing is."

To a lesser degree, there's Bryant, who underwent surgery in July on his right knee for the third time in his career. Will he be 100% when the season begins?

"I don't think so," Jackson said. "But somewhere in the first two weeks that follow, he'll be getting there, pretty close."

Bryant is often reluctant to provide details about his ailments, but it's a lack of strength around the knee that is keeping him in check, not soreness or conditioning.

"That's what he says," Jackson said. "It's strength."

Bryant did not practice Sunday. He is expected to play limited minutes Monday in an exhibition against Minnesota.

"He's measuring his pace," Jackson said."

Walton injured again

Luke Walton will be out at least two weeks after aggravating a right hamstring injury that is now being called a moderate strain. He said he felt a "little pop" while running sprints before Sunday's practice.

He will not play in the Lakers' first two exhibition games and will be reevaluated when the team returns home.

"I finally get my back feeling good, and now this happens," he said.

Walton was sidelined most of last season because of persistent back problems.

Intense dislike

Utah point guard Deron Williams is one of the NBA's best players, but he can't get past the Lakers in the playoffs.

So, naturally, he can't stand them.

"I hate 'em," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I hate them because they win all the time. . . . We definitely talk about it. It's not a secret. We hate the Lakers."

Williams is 3-12 in playoff games against the Lakers, including a humbling sweep in the Western Conference semifinals last season.

Williams predicted that veteran Jazz newcomers Al Jefferson, Earl Watson and Raja Bell would soon hate the Lakers too, not to mention rookie Gordon Hayward.

"If they don't," Williams said, "they will."

Somebody call him

To Ron Artest, these are hardly exhibition games.

He is treating the Lakers' first foray outside North America in 19 years as a proving ground. He has never heard from Team USA and wants to show what its officials are missing.

"This will be like my Olympics. I never get invited," Artest said. "I've been calling for five years, trying to get invited to the tryout, and every time somebody pulls out, they always ask somebody else.

"I'm one of the best defensive players ever to play the game, but I can't play in the Olympics. I can't even get a tryout. I'm not mad or anything. I'm just going to go out and play hard, especially when we play against Barcelona. I can't wait to play against them."

The Lakers' second exhibition is Thursday against FC Barcelona in Spain.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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