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Andrew Bynum practicing, may well return this week

Image (1) bynum-thumb-250x176-5609.jpg for post 96

Pau Gasol’s sore hamstring wants this to happen sooner rather than later.

Andrew Bynum has been participating in full practices with the Los Angeles Lakers for several days now and could return to the team this week. He practiced Monday but said he wants a couple more before he gets into game action, he told Kevin Ding of the OC Register.

The Lakers play back-to-back Tuesday (Wizards) and Wednesday (Clippers) then fly to Chicago for a game. Smart money is on Chicago for the return.

Phil Jackson was hedging his bets a little and would not pick a date for Bynum’s return because, well, would you want to give Bynum another target date?

“He’s coming right along,” Jackson said. “He went through every aspect of practice.”

The Lakers pretty average team defense so far — 11th in the league in points allowed per possession — should be helped dramatically .