Bynum Set to Play Through Pain

Good news on the Bynum injury front came at about 6:15 p.m. Friday night when Phil Jackson told reporters that he wasn’t concerned about Bynum’s foot. Minutes later, Bynum himself reported that while his foot was a bit sore, we was going to play through the pain.

“We’re not concerned,” said Jackson. “He moves freely. In the movement itself, there is a different feel about it, but we’re relatively concerned about what it’s going to be like after he plays. The other night he played with it and didn’t even signify anything until after the game was over, so it’s not the kind of pain that would inhibit him from playing, unless the discomfort of the fragment itself would cause problems.”

After injuring his foot while colliding with Vince Carter during a lob attempt on Tuesday, Bynum worked out Friday morning with the team and went through his usual pregame warmup at STAPLES. He had been listed as day-to-day, but perhaps the best news is that the injury isn’t expected to linger. Essentially, the small bone spur in his right foot may cause him irritation particularly after he plays on it, but Bynum said the pain is not expected to last for more than two weeks.

Unfortunately, another Lakers center, Chris Mihm, is not going to play due to a sprained ankle he suffered during L.A.’s “Turkey Trot” the other day, when players 6-8 and above take on those that are 6-8 and shorter. That means D.J. Mbenga should be active for his first game of the season.

Jackson also talked about how well Dallas has played in their current five-game winning streak, which he credited in part to the Mavs honing down their offense and discovering the rhythm and spacing “the way they want it.”

One difference in tonight’s game versus L.A.’s win in Dallas is that Josh Howard is expected to play. Jackson explained that it wasn’t his scoring that Dallas really missed, but his ability to rebound defensively and take the ball coast-to-coast. Phil said that Dallas really misses that threat when he’s not in the ball game, but has some players – like Gerald Green – who can come in if the Mavs simply need scoring.

Finally, here’s a stat: The Lakers are 34-6 in the regular season since acquiring Pau Gasol from Memphis.