Lakers, Bynum has strained Achilles, not tear

Andrew Bynum saw a foot specialist Saturday and an MRI confirmed the center has a strained left Achilles tendon.

There is no tear of the tendon. Bynum will be re-evaluated in a week.  The Lakers received some good news in regards to their injury prone center.  Last year the Lakers won the championship without Bynum.  Without Bynum, the Lakers sacrafice depth with Lamar Odom, being a starter versus coming off the bench.

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“These are the type of things that look like they’re going to take some time,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We’re just hoping that the time is not extended.”

Bynum could not walk on the foot when he woke up Saturday morning without the assistance of a boot, according to Jackson.

Bynum said he felt relieved by the news that there was no tear.

“I just have a lot of pain in that area,” Bynum said. “I’ll be re-evaluated in a week. There’s really not too much to say until that really calms down.”

The Lakers will be in Houston in a week, preparing for the Rockets, the third game of their upcoming five-game road trip. Bynum will travel with the team rather than stay back and rehabilitate the injury in Los Angeles. Bynum said that he expected the re-evaluation to occur at the end of the road trip when the team returns to L.A. on April 1, meaning that Bynum will probably be out of the lineup for at least the next six games, counting the Lakers game against the Wizards at home Sunday.

Bynum says he is experiencing a lot of pain in his left leg from his calf muscle down to his Achilles. He is taking anti-inflammatory medicine, but is avoiding pain killers. He is also treating the injury with alternating ice and heat compression and laser therapy.

Jackson lauded Bynum’s positive outlook despite having to deal with yet another injury after having both of his last two seasons derailed by knee injuries.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Jackson said. “He’s a very optimistic young man.”

Bynum joked that he jinxed himself in a recent interview by talking about the success he’s had this season in staying virtually injury free but added, “I think I’ll be alright though, I should be good … I thought it was going to be worse and when they told me today it’s not as bad [as it could have been] I was happy.”

The 22-year old was starting to play his best basketball of the season, averaging 20.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during the Lakers’ four-game winning streak coming into Friday’s game, but said he hasn’t let the timing of the injury get to him.

“I’m not frustrated,” Bynum said. “I just want to get back and play.”

The injury occurred near the start of the third quarter in the Lakers game against the Minnesota Timberwolves when Bynum was jogging back on defense. Bynum said he ran up and down the court two more times with the injury before leaving the court.

“I walked off [the court], so it wasn’t that bad,” Bynum said. “It’s better than being carried off.”

Lakers sixth man Lamar Odom will step into the starting lineup in Bynum’s absence, but Odom is dealing with an injury of his own.

Odom has been playing with an aggravated left shoulder that he first injured 14 games ago when going up for a dunk against Boston’s Ray Allen.

“It’s something that I try to condition myself to play through,” Odom said.

Odom is treating the shoulder with a device called the H-Wave, which emits low-frequency electric stimulation and along with regular icing.

“The part that I hate about the injury the most is that when I go to call on it, it might not answer me,” Odom said. “I can go up with the basketball, make a strong move and then [the shoulder will] be like, ‘No, not this time.’ That’s the part that aggravates me the most about it.”

Odom said that he does not expect to shoot well or rebound well, adding, “But, I can still play basketball.” The 6-10 forward said he will wait for the offseason to seek out further medical attention for the shoulder.

“It looks like it’s going to be one of those things where he’s going to have to live with it for a while,” Jackson said. “We’ll just have to take him out in situations where there’s numbness — that’s what happens, his arm goes numb — so when that happens we’ll take him out.”

Odom said he will adjust his rebounding technique to pursue the ball using both hands and worked on right-handed moves with Pau Gasol to use when his shoulder renders his left arm ineffective.

“A good game or a bad game, I won’t blame it on [the shoulder],” Odom said. “It’s just the way it is … The thought process is the same. [We want to] go out there and finish these last 13 games really strong and prepare for the playoffs.”

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