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Friday, April 15, 2011
Andrew Bynum (knee) practices

By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Lakers center Andrew Bynum says his troublesome right knee will be no trouble at all when Los Angeles opens the playoffs on Sunday.

"I'm fine," Bynum said. "I'll be all right. It's nothing that's not normal for me at this point."

Bynum participated in a full practice with the Lakers on Friday, just three days after hyperextending his right knee during their home finale against San Antonio. The Lakers feared disaster, given their shot-blocking defensive specialist's history of knee problems, but Bynum merely bruised a bone in his knee.

"He looked good, he looked normal," said Kobe Bryant.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bynum rounded into form as practice went on.

"I was a little concerned. He started out practice and felt like the knee was a little loose, a little different but he proceeded with it and he played fine," Jackson said. "He was OK."

Bynum says he'll be ready to go when second-seeded Los Angeles hosts the New Orleans Hornets in its first-round opener Sunday.

Bynum was limited by injuries each of the past two postseasons, but said he feels better this year than he did during either of those two title runs.

"I'm not frustrated at all, I'm actually excited," Bynum said. "I want to get the playoffs off and start winning games. We got 16 games to win. That's what we need."

The 7-footer went down Tuesday after stepping on the foot of San Antonio's DeJuan Blair and was on the floor for several minutes with his head in his hands

"It felt crazy when it happened," Bynum said. "I just thought I did something more [to hurt the knee] than I did."

The sixth-year center said he will stick to his normal rehabilitation routine of icing the knee along with electric stimulation.

He said there is pain associated with the injury, but it is not on the level of what he experienced last year when he played with a tear of the meniscus in his right knee for the final 19 games of the Lakers' playoff run.

Bynum also suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in February, causing him to miss one game. He said his current bone bruise in his right knee is similar.

"It's the same thing," Bynum said. "It just hurts for a little while and then it goes away."

Bynum still has fluid in his right knee, but no more than usual.

"I always have fluid in my knee," Bynum said. "My 'normal' is a little bit skewed. There's still fluid, but not to an extent where I have to get it drained or anything like that. If [the fluid] increases, that's when I know I did something [to hurt my knee further]."

Bynum averaged 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and nearly two blocked shots in 54 games, missing the first 24 after offseason surgery on his right knee.

While Bynum practiced, the Lakers still had players on the sidelines.

Matt Barnes (sore right knee) and Ron Artest did not practice. Jackson said Artest hyperextended a knee against Sacramento, but did not reveal which knee was bothering the Lakers' starting small forward. Both players are probable to play in Sunday's Game 1 against the Hornets.

Steve Blake is still away from the team, recovering from chicken pox. Blake could be available for Game 2 on Wednesday, but his official status according to the team remains that he is out indefinitely.

While the rest of the Lakers players got together for a team dinner on Thursday night, Jackson visited Blake in his home to drop off a video edit of New Orleans' tendencies.

"He looks very speckled," said Jackson with a smile. "He's got a lot of poxes on him. He says he's feeling better. We hope that his recovery is rapid."

"Andrew's feeling good, Matt's feeling good, we got to get our little sick boy back and we should be fine," added Bryant.

He was another player feeling good as Bryant practiced on Friday, breaking his normal habit of resting his knees to get in a group session with the team.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.