As soon as Lakers center Andrew Bynum took the court against the Clippers, it seemed hard to believe that just an hour earlier he sat by his locker debating whether to play.
His moderately sprained left ankle had kept him sidelined against New Jersey and he did not want to watch another game on television.
But his ankle was sore and he did not want to further aggravate it.
Bynum worked out with assistant coach Darvin Ham before tip-off and decided that his ankle was strong enough to support the thrashing it would take from his 285-pound body.
He went on to play without a hitch even though he was in discomfort, leading all scorers with 36 points and eight rebounds in the Lakers' 113-108 win.
"My ankle is OK," he said after the game. "It's a little sore but it's something I could play through."
Were you in pain?
"A little bit, sometimes," he said. "Spin moves hurt the most."
Kobe Bryant, the king of playing through injuries, said he was not surprised that Bynum thrived despite his physical limitations.
"He was well-rested," Bryant said with a wry smile. "He had a day off."
Bynum felt so good that he even decided to shoot another three-pointer even though he was strongly admonished with a benching after a recent attempt.
That or the pain meds were making him loopy.
With less than a second left on the clock in the third quarter, Bynum dribbled out to the three-point line and released a shot. Clank.
"I think they hit the elbow," Bynum joked. "They didn't want to call it though."
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