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Holding the Horses on Andy

That sentiment of optimism in Los Angeles about Andrew Bynum's impending return discussed earlier in the week in this space?  Gone.

All of it.  Gone.

As reported by the OC Register's Curtis Zupke:

The progress, or digress report from injured center Andrew Bynum did not sound good:

"I still have a little bit of pain but jumping, running, backpedaling and quick change of directions are still a problem," Bynum said when he talked to the media before the game

Bynum was uncertain if the second round of the playoffs would be his ideal target date.

"I hope to be ready by then," he said. "Nobody knows. A couple of weeks from now might be good. It might not be good."

That is nothing short of a bummer all around for the boys from La La Land, but it is one that they could survive, especially if the next couple of days go as planned.

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At this point in his career, rather than being asked to be a superstar, Bynum's primary purpose will simply be to add some bulk in the middle for the Lakers against the other top big men of the West.  That could become a  lot less important if the Lakers don't have to see any of those big men.

As it currently stands, the Lakers sit tied with the Hornets atop the Western Conference.  If the Lakers take the top spot, they'll be looking at a first-round match-up with Denver or Golden State (neither of whom specialize in post scoring) and the possibility of a second-round match-up with the winner of a likely Houston-Utah series (although that is certainly subject to change as well).  The Rockets will be without Yao Ming, and Utah big Mehmet Okur prefers to hang out on the perimeter as it is.  Even if the Lakers fell to second in the West, they would get Erick Dampier and Dallas in the first round.

The big problems are San Antonio and Phoenix with Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal respectively.  Somehow, there is a very legitimate chance that the Lake Show could get to the Western Conference Finals without playing either of those two teams.  Which would make the Bynum injury more livable than expected for this team. 

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