Bynum plays with meniscus tear

Updated: May 2, 2010, 6:27 PM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum started in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals series against the Utah Jazz, despite a small tear in the meniscus in his right knee.

Bynum
Bynum

Bynum scored eight points and grabbed 10 boards in 25 minutes as the Lakers took the opener 104-99.

"Andrew's preparing to play," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters before the game Sunday. "He's come in, he's doing some therapy and he's going to activate himself and he's going to try to work through it."

Bynum missed the final 13 games of the regular season with a strained left Achilles tendon and when he returned for the start of the playoffs, Jackson targeted a 24-minute limit for the 7-footer. But Bynum ended up averaging 29.8 minutes in the six-game series against Oklahoma City.

"If he's limited in what he can do, if his ability to run full out is going to be something that's going to hamper him, we'll have to measure that," Jackson said.

Bynum suffered the injury in the first half of the Lakers' 95-94 first-round series-clinching win on Friday against the Thunder while fighting for rebounding position against Nenad Krstic. The fifth-year veteran played 12 minutes in the second half after sustaining the injury.

Bynum had been playing all season with a minor tear in his right knee, but when he hyperextended it in the play against Krstic, the tear went from "very small" to "small," according to the team.

"We'll give him an opportunity to start," Jackson said. "If he gets prepared to play, we'll give him an opportunity."

With former All-Star center Mehmet Okur out until next season with a ruptured right Achilles, the Jazz started 7-1, 300-pound Kyrylo Fesenko at center. Bynum also had to match up with the 6-8, 250-pound Paul Millsap, who comes off the bench for Utah and is much more athletic than Fesenko.

"One thing that we were very happy [about], he came back and he was relatively active after that injury, the last Achilles tendon injury," Jackson said. "Now we'll see how mobile and active [Bynum's] going to be. You have to be in defending this team."

Brian Kamenetzky of the Land O' Lakers blog contributed to this report.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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