Andrew Bynum to have MRI

Updated: November 23, 2010, 9:25 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It felt a little like Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum hit the reset button on his 2010-11 season Monday when he talked to a pack of reporters while wearing his full home uniform.

It was déjà vu to the team's media day to kick off training camp in late September when Bynum, again in uniform to film various commercials and in-arena promos in front of a green screen, announced he would likely miss the first month of the regular season rehabbing his right knee that he underwent surgery on in July.

Well, the season turns a month old Friday when the Lakers play the Jazz in Utah and Bynum has a MRI scheduled for Tuesday to evaluate how his knee has progressed compared to how it looked when he last underwent a MRI two months ago prior to training camp.

Bynum
Bynum

Bynum, who said his knee "feels pretty good actually," said the purpose of the medical exam is "just to make sure everything's still good and we'll pick it up again."

If the MRI comes back clean, Bynum said he is still one to two weeks away from practicing with the team, meaning that it will be even longer until he returns to game action.

Lakers head coach Phil Jackson suggested last week that a Dec. 10 return against the Chicago Bulls could be a possibility for the sixth-year big man.

"I'll start jumping, I haven't done any jumping yet and then I'll start doing more lateral stuff, get off the straight plane and start cutting and things like that," Bynum said. "Maybe a week or two of that kind of stuff and then practice."

Bynum has been deliberate in his rehabilitation. He said he does not want to rush a return and risk re-injuring himself after missing 109 games and counting in the last three-plus seasons.

"I don't want to go out too early and then have to start all over again," Bynum said. "Hopefully I come back and be in really great shape and have my body feeling really well so I can go out there and stay out there.

"I know about what I have to do to get back and I will do it. That's the only thing, when you get hurt, it's just starting all over again. That's the worst. But you have to be willing to [rehab] day-in and day-out and that's what I do."

While he's been out and the Lakers have practice, Bynum has spent his time weightlifting, running and doing core exercises under the watchful eye of Alex McKechnie, Chip Schaefer and the rest of the Lakers training staff. He also has worked closely with his personal chiropractic physician, Dr. Sean Zarzana.

"Getting everything firing correctly and firing in the right sequences is going to be my best chance at staying healthy," Bynum said about the rehab process.

The 7-foot, 285-pound Bynum does not anticipate conditioning being a big hurdle to clear when he returns because he says the running has kept him in shape and he expects his minutes to be limited at the outset.

When the Lakers have games, Bynum hangs out in the training room and undergoes laser stimulation and alternating ice and heat treatment on the knee while watching the action on a television.

"It's cool, man," Bynum said. "You get to kick back and watch the game. Rewind on good plays. It's good.

Bynum said the news out of Portland that Greg Oden would undergo yet another season-ending microfracture surgery caused him to sympathize with the fellow young center, but he doesn't equate his injury history to Oden's.

"I look at it, but it doesn't really worry me," Bynum said. "I know my situation. I know where I'm at. I know where the doctors tell me I'm at, so I'm pretty comfortable."

Bynum called himself injury prone during last year's playoffs, but seems to have changed his stance on the subject.

"I think both [knee injuries] were kind of like freak accidents," said Bynum, adding that the meniscus tear he is currently recovering from is actually a residual effect from the injury he sustained in Jan. 2009.

"I just know I want to be healthy," Bynum said. "That's the biggest thing. That's the biggest knock on me is not being able to play."

Bynum is planning not just for this season, but for those that will follow in the future.

"At the end of the day I'm going to have to be healthy for the long term," said the 23-year-old. "My career is still young and I want to be able to play as many years as possible."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com