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LAKERS REPORT

Bynum might have surgery

May 08, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Andrew Bynum might go from a breakout season to under the knife.

If the 20-year-old center doesn't feel better in three to four weeks, he might have exploratory surgery on a sore left knee that has kept him sidelined since Jan. 13.

Bynum had a medical consultation with Steven Gecha on Wednesday in Princeton, N.J., his second trip in the last few weeks to see an East Coast doctor.

"I'm not surprised about it," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of the most recent medical update. "He was making progress and then he hit a wall and was experiencing continual swelling and backed off from that.

"Andrew was feeling better and I think that's why the doctor said, 'Let's wait another three weeks or so to see how this goes because it's still a little bit touch and go.' "

Bynum was averaging 13.1 points and 10.2 rebounds a game before sustaining a bone bruise on his knee and a briefly dislocated left kneecap during a game against Memphis.

It was not known how long Bynum would be sidelined if he underwent surgery. Training camp begins the first few days of October.

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At least one person began to wonder if Kobe Bryant would ever win the MVP award.

"I just think there's some people that kind of turned their thumbs on Kobe after 2003-04, after the split-up of the team," Jackson said. "I think they kind of washed their hands of being Kobe fans. I think he awoke the interest in him again this year by the team's play."

Bryant won the award in his 12th NBA season.

"This year, definitely as far as leadership and being involved with the team, is the best job he's done bringing everyone together and getting everyone to want to play for him and win for him," forward Luke Walton said.

"I think that's showed on the court."

How had Bryant brought everybody together?

"Just little things -- taking guys out to dinner, spending more time with people talking and explaining," Walton said. "He's such a great talent that for him, I think it's frustrating when people don't understand when he's trying to explain what other teams are doing out there.

"I think before he used to be a lot more negative towards his teammates as opposed to now pulling people to the side, talking to them, figuring out ways to figure it out together instead of just coming down hard on them. He's definitely more patient, he's having more fun."

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Jackson implied that he wasn't thrilled with the lengthy off-season commitment required for Team USA players.

"We've joined world basketball in the cause to chase whatever," he said. "I just think we're taking some of our best players and putting them in positions where it's tough for them to continue to play."

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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