Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Spurs Reactions

Phillip Barnett —  April 13, 2011

From Brian Kamenetky, Land O’ Lakers: Those hoping Tuesday’s game would serve as some sort of preview for the Western Conference finals were likely disappointed from the jump, since Gregg Popovich kept Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker in street clothes. Combined with a thinned-out Lakers squad missing both Steve Blake (chicken pox) and Matt Barnes (knee), as a forecasting tool the evening was predestined to be completely worthless. Of course, all of that became basically irrelevant at the 8:11 mark of the second quarter, when Andrew Bynum left the game because of a hyperextended right knee — the same one he had repaired last offseason. Bynum suffered the injury after stepping on DeJuan Blair’s foot at the right elbow, extending his leg awkwardly before falling to the floor under the Lakers’ basket. He stayed down for about 30 seconds or so but was able to walk off the floor under his own power. He’s scheduled for an MRI exam at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

From Timothy Varner, 48MOH: The Spurs started George Hill, Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair. The Lakers ran with 0.4, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Spurs’ starters logged a total 130  minutes; the Lakers starters tallied 157 minutes.  The Spurs lost by 9. Those are your facts. Andrew Bynum also hurt his knee, and that’s the tempest in the teapot that will emerge from this game. It already has. MRI this morning. Media frenzy to follow. The immediate impact of last night’s game had more to do with the Spurs bench getting a good workout against a great team. Players like James Anderson, who figures to play next year, got a foretaste of what it’s like trying to slow Kobe Bryant. Tiago Splitter was reminded that Pau Gasol is very good.   These things pay themselves back in time.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: welcome to Bynum Watch 2011. This has become a beloved rite of spring here in Lakerdom. You can mark its annual beginning by the appearance in the same sentence of such words as “knee buckled awkwardly,” “possible hyperextension,” “went to the locker room with trainer Gary Vitti” and “MRI pending.” Oh, you didn’t think we’d make it all the way to the playoffs without a Bynum injury scare, did you? That’s just not how things are done around here. In case you missed it and are wondering what the wave of concern sweeping through Laker fans is all about: in the second quarter of tonight’s depressing home win over the San Antonio Spurs’ practice squad, Drew’s right foot landed on the foot of DeJuan Blair, causing his knee to lock up and hyperextend a bit. After spending a few moments on the ground, Drew went to the locker room under his own power but did not return. Video of the injury is after the jump.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The largest Laker sat there, scared and trying to make himself as small as possible in the very paint where he has been such a tower the past two months. As he did, the Lakers’ bold confidence about the next two months was suddenly muted. The ghost of Andrew Bynum’s past was haunting them with a resonating message far more frightening than their first five-game losing streak with Pau Gasol. This was a reality check – not just about their blossoming young center’s frailties, but of how fleeting these championship opportunities can be. It is no coincidence that Kobe Bryant said softly after the game: “The three-peat is upon us.” Yes, a dynasty can die just like that, with one misstep, and you can be certain that 30-something Lakers Bryant, Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher all got the message about their basketball mortality. The five of those Lakers veterans will earn the NBA’s ultimate blue-collar salute Wednesday night – all 82 games played – except they will do so not assuming anything after watching that 7-foot kid folded up again on their home floor.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Andrew Bynum’s troublesome right knee will be an issue again entering the Lakers’ postseason after he hyperextended it early in the second quarter Tuesday night against San Antonio. He is scheduled for an MRI today at 11 a.m. and will not play in the regular-season finale at Sacramento tonight. The knee is the same one Bynum had surgery on in the offseason to have cartilage reattached. He has continued to have some pain — taking anti-inflammatory medication to combat it — but has played well since the All-Star break in anchoring the Lakers’ defense and dominating the boards. Bynum stepped on the foot of San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair while running back on defense, overstretching his right leg to the point it buckled and he went down. The NBA playoffs start Saturday.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Folding his arms across his knees and burying his head down, Lakers center Andrew Bynum sat on the court. He had just lost his balance while trying to track down San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, a sequence that caused his left knee to slip underneath him. Bynum then grabbed his right knee, a discomforting visual for any Lakers fan, considering Bynum’s well-documented injury history. But Bynum stood up and walked off the court as Lakers forward Pau Gasol patted him on the head. Soon enough, Bynum walked toward the locker room with trainer Gary Vitti following. The Lakers’ 102-93 victory Tuesday over the Spurs at Staples Center gives them a clearer look at the playoff picture, considering that L.A. can secure the No. 2 seed with a victory Wednesday at Sacramento and/or a Dallas Mavericks loss Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets. But here’s something that even has bigger implications: An unhealthy Bynum will severely dampen the Lakers’ hopes to three-peat. Of course, the Lakers will have a better idea about the severity of Bynum’s injury once he receives an MRI Wednesday, skipping the team’s flight to Sacramento. But given Bynum’s injury history, it’s more realistic to expect a prolonged absence than a short one, even if he insists otherwise.

Phillip Barnett

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34 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Spurs Reactions

  1. There’s a lot of gloom and doom in the air, and Bynum’s history speaks for itself. But the Lakers won last year with him simply being a “big body.” More Odom is not a bad thing the way he’s been playing, and no more back-to-backs helps. If L.A. gets N.O. in the first round, there is a good chance for Blake/Barnes/Bynum to recover before things get sticky. I’d still rather be L.A. than any other team in the west.

  2. I don’t think in the years past when Bynum was injured that he walked out of the arena with no limp, so that’s something. But I guess with Bynum’s history there is that sense of dread, particularly with the Playoffs right around the corner and the Lakers’ recent play.

    The 82-game pre season is almost over, the real season begins on Tuesday, Lakers let’s get it!

  3. I didn’t catch the game last night and while listening to Mike and Mike on the way into work today, I almost felt the need to pull over after hearing about Bynum. Hopefully it’s not too bad and just a bone bruise like Gasol’s….hopefully.

    With that being said, I’ve hyper extended a knee and have been perfectly fine. This occurred after a collegiate hurdle race – I finished (granted I didn’t place)

  4. It’s just so frustrating that it seems like Bynum gets hurt on these freak plays. Stepping on Blair’s foot and having it slide and hyperextend? Instead of possibly just a minor ankle sprain which is what happens most of the time when you step on a foot that way.

  5. 4,
    Finally.. Someone with a smart comment. You’re correct. The reason his ankle didn’t twist is the same reason Vitti said Bynum is prone to knee injuries. He has a wide set pelvis that puts more pressure on the knees then on the ankles. Or you can say his ankles are too secure if you want to look at the glass half full. Basically if the ankle doesn’t twist than the knee will. That’s why many doctors think it’s unwise to tape ankles. They say better to have the ankle twist than the knee.

  6. I think Bynum will be fine. I’m more scared about Kobe or Bynum getting the chickenpocks from Blake. Both of them still haven’t had the chickenpocks so that could be horrible for our play off run

  7. I think Bynum will be ok, he just needs few days rest. I am only worried when Bynum playing near Kobe and Odom.

  8. Any ideas on whether Kobe can be suspended by the league for the slur he is accused of uttering (see ESPN video box at right of page)?

  9. Lakers struggling going into the players, Bynum hurt his knee and don’t forget to wear your booties, cuz it’s COOOLD out there today.

    Seriously, this is the basketball version of Groundhog’s day.

  10. Lakers just signed Trey Johnson. I haven’t been reading the injury/illness updates, but from what I know of Chicken Pox, Blake will be out from 1-2 weeks. How about Barnes’ knee? any prognosis? If they knew those two were out, how come they didn’t activate Ebanks/Caracter? Any more SF’s available out there if Barnes will continue to miss time? They might need Rick Fox to come out of retirement. Any SF vets floating around or in the D-League? I still can’t stand watching Luke Walton on the court. He should just join the coaching staff next season

  11. Chownoir,
    It’s not a “freak” play – that type of contact is not uncommon in basketball.

    The uncommon part is the severity of the injury that Bynum tends to incur; that is because (as others have noted) he is structurally prone towards those types of injuries.

  12. Manny – doubt it; probably just a fine. A slap on the wrist because it makes the NBA look bad. I mean, people say that kind of stuff and worse on the court all the time; Kobe was just unfortunate enough to have the camera zero in on him at the time.

  13. For all those who are wondering, the words Kobe used to describe Bennie Adams were “f***ing f*****”. Supposedly a homophobic slur, but intended to be a derogatory term in this case.

  14. 5, all the more reason to trade him if he’s structurally prone to serious injuries. Even the staunchest of Bynum apologists cannot disagree with the notion that our seasons are becoming more and more dependent on knees of an injury-prone player. Is his ceiling higher than any current center in the league? Absolutely, but we will ever see him at 100% in the playoffs? At this point, maybe not.

  15. If Kobe is given anything more than a handslap for his admittedly-repellent comment, I hope the Lakers submit a video to the league and to the press showing the thousands of times KG is shown in a similar closeup screaming ‘Mother….er!’ at the top of his lungs. Or what about Kenyon Martin’s tirade of obscenities directed at the courtside fans, including kids, after his game-winning tip-in at Staples?

    offensive outbursts outside of gameplay need to be penalized consistently (which would be impossible) or not at all. Between this kind of arbitrary enforcement of I guess some kind of morals clause and the rules against criticizing officials in the postgame, I sometimes wonder if Stern takes his model of governance from Saudi Arabia or Iran.

    meanwhile…. 78 minutes after drew’s appointment and still no news? Kidding, sort of….

  16. @8
    I don’t think he should be suspended. It was an unfortunate choice of words and an even more unfortunate camera zoom-in. However, the context was not ‘homophobic'; replace the word he used with a-hole and not only is it not a fine, but there is no discussion. Now, if the ref was gay, which prompted Kobe’s choice in words, that would be a different story.

    On the ESPN article comments, a few have condemned Kobe trying to compare this to a white player calling Kobe the n-word. I disagree. First, let’s not pretend that the n-word isn’t used a lot by the players (I’ve heard it numerous times throughout the years). But more importantly, compare apple to apples; if a player called Kobe the same word he used, would Kobe or anyone else have thought it had ‘homophobic’ intent? I think not.

    I think some are trying to make this in to something waaayy deeper than it really is. That said, Kobe could have and should have responded to his frustration more maturely. It speaks to his character, and if someone wants to hold it against him, that is their privilege. To me- these guys are athletes, who happen to make the game I love enjoyable to watch. I have no deluded expectation of their moral superiority or that these guys are the default surrogate role models for our society. They just play ball . . . but that’s just me.

    Sorry for the rant.

  17. There will be a bit of a delay in the game preview today. Thanks for the patience.

  18. http://twitter.com/andrewbynum

    sounds like he feels like he will be fine. everyone let out a big PHEW…..

  19. If there was ever a time for Phil’s “in the moment/middle way” philosophy this is it. Maybe all of these issues will force the Lakers into a laser-like focus.

    Either that, or they will completely crumble. I’m leaning toward the former and crossing my fingers in the process.

  20. Darius, can you give us the results of Bynum’s MRI?

  21. A delay in the preview? Seriously, Darius, what else could POSSIBLY be going on in Lakerland that would divert your attention from the game preview?!?! :)

  22. I feel as if Bynum’s MRI results are being delivered via the Pony Express…

  23. “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”

    Either Bynum’s referring to his knee, or the prospect of facing the Grizzlies in the first round. Which are probably the same thing.

    No word yet? Maybe we should have a game thread for awaiting Bynum’s MRI results.

  24. Bynum has bone bruise but not any serious injury — and projected by Lakers to be ready for playoff opener.
    5 minutes ago via ÜberSocial for iPhone

    Lakers also got good news on Matt Barnes’ surgically repaired knee. An MRI showed no new damage, and Barnes should be ready for playoffs.
    3 minutes ago via ÜberSocial for iPhone

    Both from Kevin Ding. Buh bye title chances for anyone but the Lakers;)

  25. Bone bruise for Bynum..not serious…expected to play this weekend…hurray

  26. In an effort to cheer up Lakers Nation – it could always be worse. We could always have this man as our GM:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/04/13/wolves-kahn-loves-his-roster-not-sure-why-rambis-cant-win-with-it/

    Edit: Just saw the above post. Huge sigh of relief. At least it’s not something where he’ll miss time.

    Now if we think practically, don’t bone bruises typically take much longer to truly heal? I seem to remember them being a lingering type of injury (obviously depends on the severity). Makes me wonder if we’ll end up seeing a repeat of last year – Bynum’s knee not improving as the playoffs go on, because of a lack of proper rest.

    If that’s the case and we draw NO in the first round, I think I’d rather they give Drew 1-2 weeks off. Yes, it could disrupt his rhythm, but I think our team could handle it, and he’d be more mobile deeper in the playoffs.

  27. Sigh of relief.

  28. Great news on Barnes and Bynum. Time to step away from the ledge, put away the razor blades, unload the gun and put the sleeping pills back in the bottle!

    Next order of business is to immunize Drew, Ron and Kobe from chicken pox. In other news, here’s hoping that Trey Johnson can be a diamond in the rough. Hell, if he does nothing else but run around the perimeter on D keeping both arms raised at all times that’s still almost an upgrade over ShanWOW =/

  29. Thanks Employee#5, and the Pony Express to Darius, I am feeling OK now, but we need a WIN tonight for sure, and then all will really be OK for all of Lakerland.

  30. I was listening on 710 in my car fifteen minutes ago
    Max Kellerman said… “news just in… The MRI results are back for Andrew Bynum’s knee… And they showwwwwwww…….. ………. No damage… He is excepted to be a hundred percent by Sunday and the Lakers win the world championship!!!!”

    On a seriousness note… I couldn’t be happier for Andrew, the Lakers and their fans in that order. The kid deserves to play on this team in the playoffs healthy. After what he has gone through the last three years? I’m so proud of him. And possible it wasn’t just Bynum’s game that has turned a corner this year, it was his knees also. Would his knees survive this kind of stress ever before? Well we know they wouldn’t have. He seemed to have a more minornhyper extension last year against OKC that resulted in a meniscus tear. Bynum has a new game and a new body. The guy is indisctructable!!!
    I almost cried again

  31. Kobe will be on ESPN 710 radio at 3:30 PT Here is a link http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/radio/news/story?page=listenlive_la

  32. 26,
    Bone bruises are a non injury. The best injury you can have in sports. It’s what Gasol was diagnosed with when he hyper extended his knee. You have a little bit of swelling for a couple days with no impact on your game. Andrew will be a hundred percent for Sunday. And last year he tore his meniscus. Rest they said wouldn’t have helped. As soon as he played one minute the knee flared up again. He was playing on a knee that required surgery. This tweak requires some ice and a couple good night sleeps. This is great news.

  33. Phew.

    Here in Australia I’m not long out of bed, and this was some GOOD news to wake up to. Fingers crossed that the bone bruise is not going to linger, although we do need to remember the size of Drew, and the consequent pressure on those knees.

    But let’s focus on the positive, and that Barnes & Bynum double knee news today is great to hear.

    Now we just need to keep Blake in quarantine for the next couple of weeks!