Five days after we caught up with Andrew Bynum in Detroit, he’s just a bit further along with his rehabilitation process but — as expected — is still not ready to practice fully, let alone play in a game.
Last week, Bynum’s activity was restricted to straight-line running, shooting and some simple low post actions like hook shots, albeit without any lateral cutting. This week, Bynum said he plans to up his activity level to jumping and cutting. If that goes well (i.e. no swelling or set backs), he’ll move forward with actually practicing with the team … in two or three weeks.
Bynum’s not so much worried about his level of conditioning when he returns, but simply being fully healthy.
“Conditioning (wise) I’m doing a lot of running and lifting, so I think I’ll be able to get my game wind back in the first couple of games,” said Bynum. “Plus I’m not sure how many minutes I’ll be logging right away, so from that standpoint I feel pretty good. My whole thing is just keeping the knee healthy and making sure the meniscus doesn’t tear again.”
Lakers center Andrew Bynum answered questions from a few traveling beat reporters prior to L.A.’s Wednesday evening contest in Detroit. Below is a transcription of the Q&A:
On if he knows when he’ll play in his first game:
Bynum: I have no idea. If these work outs continue to go well, hopefully I’ll be on time. But if I get swelling or something like that, I’ll have to slow down a little bit.
On what he’s doing right now for rehabilitation work:
Bynum: Just post stuff, jump shots, jump hooks, that’s really it. A lot of running, straight line stuff. No lateral stuff yet. I like to go on the track because it’s more distance, better for your lungs, a lot less pounding than running on the treadmill. It’s good.
On how his knee feels:
Bynum: It feels pretty good. I haven’t had a set back yet, but it’s just my second day on the court.
On if his hope is to practice fully, not play in a game, by Thanksgiving:
Bynum: I have no idea. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice with my teammates (by then).
On if he is taking the long view with his knee:
Bynum: I’m not real concerned with it, just trying to get healthy and get back. My big thing is to be in the best shape that I can be when I get out there so nothing else happens. I don’t want to have a set back or regress.
The respective right knees of Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have understandably been the two items of most keen interest leading into the 2010-11 Lakers season, and while Bryant’s set to start in Tuesday’s season opener, it’ll be a few more weeks yet for Bynum.
The recent news on L.A.’s 22-year-old center has been primarily positive, however, as Bynum shared with us in a quick state-of-his-knee address prior to Friday’s preseason game in Ontario.
“Everything is going well with the knee, he said. “I started doing a lot more cardio stuff, lifting legs, getting back into shape. When I come back, I want to be ready to go, so I’m working really hard to get there.
“My mission is to try and stay healthy, do a lot more preventative stuff to keep a strong base. That’s what I’m focused on, maintaining that health so I can just play.”
Bynum had been sticking with elliptical and bike machines last week, but on Sunday Phil Jackson said Bynum graduated to running on a regular treadmill.
“He went through some activity that was accelerated,” said Jackson. “I think he wants to ramp it up a bit faster than we want him to. We want him to be able to go in and sustain that effort when he does get back, so he needs to have a real base, a foundation when he comes back.”
Jackson added that Bynum has not yet done any jumping or dunking, but that has been shooting. The head coach thinks that Bynum will be able to re-acclimate rather easily to the basketball side of things, but may take a bit more time with conditioning, strengthening and reaction time.
There remains no actual target date for Bynum’s potential first game, but Jackson did identify Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 25) as one upon which to keep an eye.
While the Lakers’ Media Day on Saturday at the team’s practice facility provided a chance to catch up with each player on the team, the most pertinent piece of actual news surrounded Andrew Bynum’s right knee.
As the 7-0 center explained to us on LakersTV, he won’t be returning to the basketball floor as soon as was originally expected.
“I saw the doctor two days ago, he says I have about four weeks of just rehab stuff and then I’ll be able to hit the track running,” said Bynum. “What happened was I went over to South Africa (for the World Cup), had a great time over there, and then when I got back my doctor was on vacation (on July 18). I did the surgery as soon as he got back in town (July 28).”
Bynum explained that he had damaged his meniscus more than was originally suspected, and it required some additional work intended to preserve Bynum’s knee in the long run.
As such, we won’t see the 22-year-old on the floor in the preseason or at the start of the regular season; he’ll instead focus on rehabilitation activities with the Lakers training staff.
“I would like to be back on the court playing in actual games by the end of November,” he explained. “That gives us about two months, so I think we’ll be OK.”
The Lakers, of course, have gone through periods of various length without Bynum throughout the past three seasons, and are quite comfortable playing with Pau Gasol at center and Lamar Odom at the power forward.
Both Gasol and Odom said that they would hold down the proverbial fort until Bynum returns, and that their main concern was Bynum being healthy throughout the season and particularly the postseason.
Earlier this week, we learned that Andrew Bynum was unlikely to play in the preseason, but that the Lakers were “hopeful” the young center would be ready to go for the start of the regular season on Oct. 26 against Houston.
Bynum had surgery on July 28 to repair a small tear of the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus in his right knee, but subsequently found out that a longer recovery period than initially suspected was in order.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson shed some light upon the issue at his preseason press conference on Friday morning:
I don’t see how Andrew is going to be ready, and I really haven’t anticipated Andrew being ready to go at the beginning of the season. Now, that’s an unfortunate thing, but the type of surgery that the doctor did on his knee takes a little extra time. Obviously, we hadn’t prepared and Andrew certainly hadn’t prepared for the fact that it could was going to take an extra month and a half or so to rehab this type of surgery. I know he’s getting battered a little bit, and we could have had the operation a little bit earlier, but the end result is what he’s going to be like in May and June and that’s the important part.
It’s an unusual type of surgery. It’s not done very often. Obviously the area of the tear with Andrew is a very unusual tear, and Andrew has knees that, I think, have shown we have to be careful with them and this is something we hope is going to repair the knee in a way so it can be much more stable in the future.
While Pau Gasol is feeling great after a summer off from basketball, L.A.’s other 7-footer, Andrew Bynum, continues to rehabilitate his right knee from surgery in late July and will not be ready to participate at the onset of the team’s training camp on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Bynum underwent a minor operation on July 28 to correct a small tear of the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus in his right knee that he suffered in the first round of the playoffs, and has been doing therapy throughout August and September with Lakers Athletic Performance Coordinator Alex McKechnie as well as physical therapist Judy Seto.
The 22-year-old center, however, is not yet ready to participate in basketball activities. According to team spokesman John Black, the team is hopeful Bynum will be able to resume playing towards the end of training camp, but his progress will be measured on a day-to-day basis as camp and the preseason progress.
Things were a bit different to open the 2009-10 season, as Bynum posted double-doubles in eight of L.A.’s first nine games, averaging 18.4 points and 11.8 rebounds while Gasol was out with a strained hamstring.
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.
Perhaps no Lakers player matured more during the 2009-10 campaign than Andrew Bynum, who battled through a painful right knee injury throughout the playoffs while giving the Lakers the paint presence they needed at both ends.
Bynum averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.45 blocks on 57 percent shooting in 30 minutes per game in a mostly-healthy regular season (he played 65 games and suffered a strained Achilles injury), then contributed 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds with 1.57 blocks in 24 minutes per playoff game.
The summary of his exit interview:
- Bynum said he’s planning on having minor right knee surgery around July 18 to correct a small tear of the anterior horn of his lateral meniscus that he suffered in Game 6 of the First Round. He had the knee drained on Tuesday morning prior to his interview, and is heading to the World Cup in South Africa to take in some soccer. He’s going to root for Brazil, “his dudes.”
- (On pushing through the injury and winning a title): “For me, I was just super, super, super happy. Probably the most happy I ever was on the sideline during that game. It would have been really disappointing to have lost that championship. Now that I have it, it’s kind of epic. We were down 13 points in that game … just amazing.”
- Bynum is planning on working with Lakers Athletic Performance Coordinator Alex McKechnie throughout the summer to focus on his core strength. “That’s just so like when you get pushed, you can find neutral to be in the best athletic position. I think that will help my game a lot.”
- (On what he learned from the veterans on L.A.): “‘I’ve been lucky to have (veterans) to learn from … I’m always going to feel like the young guy on this team. Dealing with adversity. Guys losing their games and getting them back. Trying to understand where they’re at mentally. A lot of guys started to read, which helped out. PJ pushes meditation. You figure out what works for you, and take it from there.”
- (On his mindset after the knee injury): “All I was thinking was that ‘I have to play,’ and ‘I’m going to play.’ I wanted to be a part of it anyway I could.”
- (On improving) “I definitely have work to do. 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 has a list of things he wants to improve heading into 2011 from his core strength, to footwork, to finishing moves & more.
- (On getting Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson back): “Super important … Fish is the best … We all want PJ to come back, every last one of us.”
- (On playing with Pau Gasol): “When we’re moving the ball, I think the high-low is very effective. It’s definitely going to work. And defensively having two seven footers really creates havoc for teams.
Potentially good news for the Lakers came from the lips of Andrew Bynum on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m going to play, 100 percent,” he stated regarding Sunday’s Game 5.
While the team is still taking a wait-and-see-how-it-feels-before-the-game approach, Bynum was confident that he’d be able to contribute, stating that the draining process he underwent on Friday did its job and that he’s feeling better.
“I think we’re still optimistic that he’s going to give it a shot,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “We have a day to work with him. He’s had a day of therapy and he can start getting some movement and maybe start activating himself tomorrow and get himself going.”
We’d learned on Friday that Bynum had an MRI scan of his right knee that showed no additional damage, and that he’d had the knee drained on Thursday evening after the game.
Many of Bynum’s teammates, not to mention his general manager Mitch Kupchak, praised his toughness and “maturity” (in Kupchak’s words) for playing through the pain, as Kobe Bryant for one has done for so many years.
Bynum’s fully expecting some swelling to return to the knee after the game, but feels that the additional day between games 4 and 5 will have him playing at a high level.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was able to play just under two minutes in the second half of Thursday evening’s Game 4 loss in Boston, underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed no new damage to his right knee.
According to Lakers spokesman John Black, Bynum also had fluid drained from the swollen knee on Friday, the same process that occurred before the Finals opened in Los Angeles last week (May 31).
Bynum said after Game 4 that he hoped to play in Sunday’s Game 5; he will be officially listed as questionable for the contest.
In the meantime, the 22-year-old will continue a variety of treatments on the knee to get it as ready for action as is possible.
Bynum had been a solid force for L.A. in the team’s first three games against Boston, including a 21-point, 7-block, 6-rebound performance in Game 2 and his nine points with 10 rebounds in Game 3, and was noticeably missed in Game 4.
“It bothered us in the second half not having Andrew be able to come out and play the start of the second half,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “He tried a couple minutes, but it just wasn’t there for him. We’re glad we have a couple days off and we can kind of get him back hopefully in position where he can help us out again.”
Both Jackson and Bynum’s teammates praised what the young big man has shown from a toughness standpoint while battling through his injury, with Kobe Bryant saying that he thought ‘Drew would “be fine,” that he’d “bounce back and give it a go.”
We’ll have another update right here after Saturday’s practice.