Ailing Bynum given green light to start against Celtics

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

The seven-foot Bynum, whose towering presence is greatly needed by the defending NBA champions against Boston Celtics opponents renowned for their physical approach, successfully completed a practice session with his team mates on Wednesday.

Asked how the 22-year-old had shaped up on the Staples Center court, Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters: "Fine." He also said Bynum is ready for the best-of-seven series opener against the Celtics

Bynum did not practice with the team on Tuesday, having had just over two-and-a-half ounces of fluid drained by the Lakers physician the previous day.

He hyper-extended his right knee a month ago against the Oklahoma City Thunder and, though he continued to start for the Lakers, his effectiveness and playing time have been limited.

"Whether that worked or not, it was a procedure that was tried, attempted," Jackson said of the fluid removal. "He's not a hundred percent but he's throwing himself in there. He'll do the job."

Spanish forward Pau Gasol, like Bynum a seven-footer, was confident his team mate would make a positive contribution.

"He's going to give us size, defensive presence and I think he can still be aggressive and finish close to the rim," Gasol said. "It's just a matter of hopefully not aggravating it too much and just playing through it, knowing that the pain probably is going to be there."

Bynum has averaged 9.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in the post-season and will match up at center with Boston's Kendrick Perkins on Thursday.

While question marks remain over Bynum's fitness for the series, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was not considering switching rotations or changing his game plan.

"We're not going to worry about whether he's healthy or not," Rivers said. "Players tend to be healthy once the Finals start no matter what their injury status is. We're viewing him as 100 percent and a factor in the series."

(Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email