Andrew Bynum says he'll play Game 4
Bynum entered the Hornets practice facility, located about 10 miles outside of downtown New Orleans, with a smile on his face, a day after he fell to the floor for the third time in the past three weeks because of injuries to his right knee that was surgically repaired last summer.
"It's the same bone bruise," Bynum said of his latest scare, which happened early in the third quarter of the Lakers' 100-86 win in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Hornets on Friday. "I keep doing the same thing to it."
Bynum finished out the game after a timeout was called with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter when he went down following inadvertent contact with Hornets forward Carl Landry.
"I just remember they got a steal I think so people started to go that way while I was going this way," Bynum said of the play that left him sitting on the court wincing in pain before teammates helped him to his feet.
He had 14 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes in the first half, but was greatly diminished in the second half as he totaled zero points, two rebounds, three fouls and two turnovers in 15 minutes.
Bynum, who is averaging 14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 58.1 percent shooting through the Lakers' 2-1 start to the postseason, spent Friday night receiving treatment after the game.
"I iced the hell out of it and I did medicine so I'll be right for [Sunday]," Bynum said.
The six-year veteran tweaked his knee on April 3 against Denver when Lamar Odom accidentally fell into his lower body. Bynum hurt the knee again on April 12 against San Antonio by hyperextending it, resulting in a bone bruise that caused him to miss the Lakers' regular-season finale against Sacramento.
"He's had some situations in which they appear to be devastating," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Bynum credited the brace he wears on the knee as the reason none of the recent tweaks turned out to be more serious.
"I think it just happens because the MCL is a little loose," Bynum said. "But as long as I have the brace on, hopefully I'll be all right. ... I'm lucky because that brace is doing its job."
Bynum stressed the importance of the Lakers' winning Games 4 and 5 to close out their first-round series as quick as possible as he anticipates a long series between the No. 3 seed Dallas Mavericks and No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers, the winner of which L.A. would play in the Western Conference semifinals.
"That will go at least six or seven [games]," Bynum said of the Mavs-Blazers series, which Dallas led 2-1 heading into Saturday's game in Portland. "That'd be some good rest."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.