The Lakers confirmed Monday night that center Andrew Bynum will undergo minor surgery on July 28 to correct a small tear of the anterior horn of his lateral meniscus in the right knee that he suffered in Game 6 of Round 1 of the playoffs.
Bynum had previously speculated that the surgery would take place on July 18.
The 22-year-old had the knee drained on June 22, and subsequently took some time off, highlighted by a trip to watch the World Cup in South Africa with some of his high school friends just a few days after becoming a two-time NBA champion.
Bynum impressed the organization, his coaches and his teammates by battling through pain in that knee all the way through Game 7 of the Finals, offering his paint presence at both ends while averaging 8.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.57 blocks in 24 minutes.
His importance to the Lakers was also felt in the regular season: when he and Pau Gasol were both healthy, the team went 38-12 (.76); when one or both didn’t play, L.A. was just 19-13 (.59).
The New Jersey native opened the season by amassing double-doubles in eight of L.A.’s first nine games, averaging 18.4 points and 11.8 rebounds in Gasol’s absence (hamstring). Then in March, Bynum was heating up down the stretch, averaging 20.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in a four-game period before his regular season ended with a strained Achilles injury.
Fortunately for Bynum and the Lakers, his Achilles is fully healed, and he’s confident that recovery from the minor knee surgery won’t cut into his offseason plan to improve his core strength, footwork and finishing moves.
“I definitely have work to do,” he said during his exit interview. “I know with my size I (can be dominant). Offensively there is stuff that I can work on with core strength so I can finish over contact.”
Bynum is also sure to be happy about the return of both his coach, Phil Jackson, and co-captain, Derek Fisher, whose collective return was “super important” to him.
Stay tuned for an update on Lakers.com when information is made available following Bynum’s operation.