Bynum to miss 8 weeks with injured kneecap

Updated: January 16, 2008, 2:02 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Andrew Bynum, a big factor in the Los Angeles Lakers' strong start, will be out at least eight weeks because of an injured left knee.

MRI tests and an examination Monday by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo revealed Bynum had temporarily dislocated his kneecap and suffered a bone bruise.

Colossal Loss

Andrew Bynum was averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and shooting 63.6 percent from the field in 35 games this season. Here are the only Lakers to average those numbers for a season:

Player
Pts.
Reb.
FG pct.
Wilt Chamberlain
(1971-72)
14.819.264.9
Wilt Chamberlain
(1972-73)
13.218.672.7
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(1979-80)
24.810.860.4

"He's already focusing on his rehab," Bynum's agent, David Lee, told ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour on Monday.

Bynum is expected to make a full recovery, the Lakers said in a press release.

"If it's not an operation, a surgery he has to go through, we have to be pleased with it," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before Los Angeles played at Seattle on Monday night. "He should be able to recover. The process of us monitoring the season for eight weeks without him, as big an influence as he's been, is going to be difficult."

The 20-year-old center, who leads the NBA in field-goal percentage, was injured early in the third quarter of Sunday night's 100-99 victory over Memphis when he landed on teammate Lamar Odom's left foot while going for a rebound.

Bynum crumpled to the court, and teammates Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf had to carry him to the locker room as fans at Staples Center chanted, "By-num, By-num."

A third-year pro taken by the Lakers with the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Bynum is averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.06 blocked shots, and has made 189 of his 297 field goal attempts (63.6 percent). He is the league's 11th-leading rebounder and ninth-leading shot-blocker.

The Lakers (25-11) had won six straight games -- their longest winning streak in almost four years -- and 16 of 19 entering Monday night's game at Seattle.

The schedule gets much tougher after that, with games against Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, Dallas and Cleveland. Then, after a home game against the Knicks, the Lakers begin a nine-game road trip Jan. 31 at Detroit.

"It will take us a little bit of time to figure out on the floor, how we're going to still have the success we've been having without him," Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. "That's what we want to do and we feel like we can do it, but I think it's going to take some time."

Brown moved into the starting lineup for Bynum on Monday and Turiaf would serve as his backup.

Brown, limited to 41 games by injuries last season, has averaged 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in eight games after missing 19 because of a sprained left knee and ankle. He entered Monday night's matchup against Seattle having played in 15 games this season.

The Lakers already had a depth problem at center because Chris Mihm has been sidelined with a sore right Achilles tendon and isn't expected to return for at least two more weeks.

"Kwame is going to have to take a big load of the playing time," Jackson said. "We're going to have to shore up the boards a little bit because that's where Andrew really was effective for us and they're going to split duties, Ronny and Kwame."

Bynum expressed optimism as he left the arena after Sunday night's game walking under his own power with a soft brace on his knee while his personal trainer, Sean Zarzana, carried a pair of crutches.

"I'm not in too much pain, only when I bend it," Bynum said. "I don't think it's serious at all. I can move it left and right. Just to take a step forward is the only thing that really hurts. I never heard a pop."

In his last full game before being injured, Bynum had 25 points and a career-high 17 rebounds Friday night in a 110-105 victory over Milwaukee.

Sam Alipour is a contributing writer to ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.