Andrew Bynum was waiting with a joke Friday as fellow center Kwame Brown returned to the Lakers after missing 27 games with a severely sprained left ankle. “It was a bit nostalgic to see him in the uniform today,” Bynum said of Brown, who was injured Dec. 31. “But I’m really happy for him. I know he’s excited to be back and I think it’ll help us out a lot.” The injury news wasn’t as good for Luke Walton, who hoped to return Friday from his own sprained ankle. But Walton has been unable to overcome the injury and will be re-examined Monday by ankle specialist David Thordarson at USC. Walton, who underwent an MRI on Friday, will not travel for Sunday’s game at Phoenix and his availability for the Lakers’ upcoming road trip is uncertain. The Lakers will play back-to-back games at Minnesota and Milwaukee beginning Tuesday. “It’s not healing enough and he’s still having pain in certain movements,” team spokesman John Black said. “So we’ll send him over and check that out.” Brown, meanwhile, made his decision to return mostly out of necessity with Bynum staying home sick from three days of practice this week. In addition, Brown feared he would not be able to return in full for the playoffs if he stuck to his original timetable. “They wanted me to be out another three weeks,” Brown said. “There’s no way I can get in shape if I sit out another three weeks. So I just said, `Let’s try to give it a go.”‘ Brown consulted with trainer Gary Vitti, who said his ankle might not be pain-free the rest of the season. He joked that he was moving at more of a “fast trot” than running full speed but added, “I’m pretty quick, so it’s faster than most people.” By returning now, Brown also has a chance to salvage what he hoped would be a breakthrough season before it was derailed. Brown is averaging 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds but has missed 34 out of 59 games because of injuries. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, meanwhile, will face a decision about going forward with Bynum or Brown as his starting center. Jackson appreciates the defensive presence Brown brings and believes Bynum can be productive off the bench. “If both of them reach where I think is their potential, I’m going to have to consider that,” Jackson said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!