UPDATE 2:06 pm: Both Andrew Bynum and Phil Jackson said after Lakers practice on Monday that Bynum will play and start in Game 4.
Again, not a shock. Bynum’s knee is not getting better or worse by playing, it’s a matter of pain management. A game or two off is not going to help him.
9:31 pm. Andrew Bynum has a torn meniscus in his right knee, a little bit of cartilage that is becoming a big problem for the Lakers.
It is clearly bothering him. Bynum is not playing well — in Game 3 he had one nice post move to go with the fouls he picked up so quickly all game. On a night Amare Stoudemire was aggressive and attacking the basket, the Lakers needed Bynum’s length to protect the rim.
And he sat with a sore knee and foul trouble.
Maybe sitting him out more and giving him some rest would help. When asked after the game Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he had thought about it, and that he would talk to Bynum about it between games.
Bynum said he was not sitting out.
The problem is, rest is not going to make it better, knee surgery is. Minor knee surgery, but surgery nonetheless. The Lakers need Bynum — not as much in this series but in the next one against the Celtics, if they make it. Bynum has not developed a reputation as a quick healer, surgery would mean the end of his season. Bynum doesn’t want that.
But rest is not helping. The candid Bynum — maybe the most open of the Lakers players — said after the Lakers had a week off leading up to the Suns series that his knee felt worse, not better. Rest has not done it any good before. There were three days off between games two and three in the Suns series and he looked worse. Rest is not the answer.
Bynum is better — even when healthy — when he can use is 7’0″, 285-pound frame to bang. The mobility and quickness of the Suns can expose his defensive rotations on the best of days.
Sunday night, Bynum was in foul trouble because he was late on rotations (and because Amare Stoudemire was the aggressor). He was late in part because his knee is very sore and he moves more slowly. It’s a problem.
But it’s not a problem more rest solves.