For once, Andrew Bynum couldn't wait to talk about his recovery.
"I've been cleared," the Lakers center said late Sunday night, repeating it a couple of times for added emphasis as he walked briskly down an empty corridor at Staples Center. "I can start running next week, and then maybe start practicing in two to three weeks. But the important thing is the doctor cleared me."
He then added the latest timetable on his return from off-season knee surgery.
"Hopefully, I'm back playing games by late November," Bynum said, smiling.
It's a schedule Lakers followers would embrace, since Bynum told The Times this month that he wouldn't be back until December.
For now, Bynum is allowed to start doing non-basketball activities, working to strengthen the area around his right knee after undergoing surgery in July to repair torn cartilage.
The Lakers haven't looked crisp without Bynum in five exhibition games, with Sunday night's loss to Utah providing the latest sampling.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol straightened out after going a combined two for 12 in the first half, but the Lakers fell to 2-3 in the preseason after the 99-94 defeat. Bryant finished with 19 points on seven-for-12 shooting and Gasol had 28 points on eight-for-15 shooting.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was more concerned with the Lakers' defense, which let Utah shoot 50.7% even though Jazz guard Deron Williams sat out the game because of a calf injury.
"I wasn't pleased with our individual defense and our team defense," Jackson said Monday. "We allowed too many easy shots for them."
He also wasn't thrilled with an offense that shot 39% and settled for too many three-point attempts, making only six of 21 (28.6%).
"I thought our offense kind of stalled," Jackson said. "We didn't have that rhythm and continuity that we like to have in our offense."
The Lakers begin the regular season Oct. 26 against Houston.
Walton back soon
Reserve forward Luke Walton practiced Monday for the first time since sustaining a strained right hamstring two weeks ago and was targeting Thursday's exhibition against Golden State as his return to game action.
"It felt good," Walton said. "It's not tugging on me, which is great. I still didn't really like explode and didn't ever really go as hard as I could to the basket, but I was running, sprinting, passing and cutting, and all of that felt great. A very good sign."
There's a small chance Walton could play Tuesday against Utah, but Jackson said he didn't envision "throwing him out there" after only one day of practice.
Walton sat out most of last season because of recurring back problems but hasn't reported any major issues with his back this season.
Barnes hearing postponed
A scheduled court hearing Monday in Sacramento for reserve forward Matt Barnes was postponed until Oct. 25.
Barnes was arrested Sept. 8 on suspicion of domestic violence after an alleged altercation with his fiancée in suburban Sacramento.
Barnes signed a two-year deal with the Lakers in July.