Lakers' Bynum says knee injury getting worse

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Bynum says his injured knee gradually is getting worse, although the Los Angeles Lakers' starting center plans to keep playing on his swelling leg in the Western Conference finals.

Bynum disclosed his right knee's worsening state after running in practice Saturday with the Lakers, who open the conference finals against Phoenix on Monday night.

"It's something where I'll have to continue getting treatment and pump the swelling out," Bynum said.

Bynum discovered a small tear in his meniscus after straining his knee during the Lakers' first-round series with Oklahoma City. After two strong second-round games against the Jazz, the accumulated swelling prevented him from playing effectively in the defending NBA champions' last two playoff games in Utah.

Bynum took most of the past four days off, resting and reducing the swelling during Los Angeles' six off-days before the conference finals. He said he participated in every part of Saturday's practice, while coach Phil Jackson said he was only in certain parts.

"He's running with some limitations," Jackson said. "He still looks good. It's good to see him out there."

Bynum is averaging career playoff highs of 10.3 points and 8.9 rebounds while blocking 20 shots in the Lakers' 10 postseason games. He missed the last 13 games of the regular season with a strained Achilles' tendon, yet the 7-footer said he had never felt better heading into a postseason.

The Lakers have learned not to rely on a strong playoff effort from Bynum, who acknowledges he's injury-prone. He missed the Lakers' entire run to the 2008 NBA finals with a dislocated left kneecap despite near-constant speculation he might be able to return before undergoing arthroscopic surgery in May.

Kobe Bryant also returned to practice with the Lakers after resting for the past four days. Bryant, who has an arthritic finger and a gimpy ankle among several minor injuries, left practice early to stay rested.