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Last night's game against the Bulls, as successful an outing as it was, contained more than a couple *gasp!* oh crap! moments. You know the kind: a player goes down, and depending on how injury prone they are (or whether they've got current injury issues), you hold your breath for a moment, hoping they're okay.
For the Lakers, it goes like this:
- Kobe goes down, and you scream, "Where's the foul?!?" Let's be honest, no one thinks twice about injury with that dude. He'll just treat it around the clock and play anyways.
- Pau Gasol goes down, and you think, "Silly bearded man..." Unless he's just coming back from injury, in which case, you think, "Oh crap, if he's not okay, I'm gonna hurt someone."
- Lamar Odom goes down, and you think, "LO, I will never understand you." Mainly because he probably went down because of something crazy and inexplicable that he did. It's LO, we don't pretend to understand it.
- Andrew Bynum goes down and you think, "Shitguys, Z missiles are coming!" Yeah, it's pretty much nuclear holocaust-level despair.
We had a couple of those moments last night. Fortunately, none of the worst case scenarios came to bear. Details after the jump.
Pau Gasol hit the floor pretty hard twice, one of which looked bad as his left foot got stuck underneath him. Fortunately, and much as I had suspected, it appears that he really did take his time coming back, waiting until he was at or close to 100%. The result was that he was able to take a beating without any noteworth y adverse effects, and he's none the worse for wear.
Now to the story that's actually news, though not the bad kind. As I noted in my recap of last night's game, Andrew Bynum played limited minutes (24:16, a full 13.5 minutes less than his average thus far) because he tweaked his ankle during the game. Just what we need, right? Another Bynum injury.
Relax, people. The news is good. They're not calling it a sprain; they originally called it a "tweak," and now they're calling it "jammed." And while they held him out for the rest of the game, he's slated to practice today, and expected to play on Sunday against the Thunder. See? You didn't believe me, but I told you it was fine.
I'd like to add that the Lakers' coaching staff, and/or Bynum himself, absolutely made the right call in sitting out last night. No, it's not what Kobe would do, but Bynum's not Kobe, and after the last two years, playing it safe is the right way to do things. Especially when Gasol is back, you're up a couple dozen points, and the game simply is not in question. In that scenario, it was the right move to get Bynum rest, not taking even a minor risk with that ankle, and make sure this isn't a problem.
That's what they did, and the news is, sure enough, no problem.