Andrew Bynum says arthritis is part of the problem with his knees. (Rich Schultz / Associated…)
PHILADELPHIA — — Those who think Dwight Howard isn't doing enough for the Lakers should consider what Andrew Bynum is doing for Philadelphia.
The former Lakers center has not played a minute for the 76ers, sidelined because of knee problems. It wouldn't come as a surprise to Lakers followers during his seven seasons with the team, though his latest injury escapade was unusual.
He sat out the exhibition season because of a bone bruise in the knee and felt new soreness after a trip to the bowling alley last month.
"It kind of broke off cartilage and it made the bone bruise bigger," Bynum told reporters, characterizing bowling as "relatively nothing. It's three steps [and roll]. I can't answer and [doctors] can't now either. We're trying to figure out what's going on.
"Obviously in hindsight you shouldn't go bowling, but it's not more than anything I've done in my rehab."
Bynum, 25, is in the last year of a contract paying him $16 million this season. He said last month there were no surgical procedures that would help at the time.
There is no timetable for his return. He will not play against the Lakers on Sunday.
Bynum had serious knee issues with the Lakers, requiring surgery on his left one in 2008 for a dislocated kneecap and on his right one in 2010 because of torn cartilage. He played every regular-season game only once in his seven seasons with them.
He was an All-Star last season for the first time, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Lakers while managing to stay relatively injury-free. He was the main piece they lost in the four-team deal that landed Howard from Orlando.
At least one Lakers player wished Bynum was on the active roster for Sunday's game.
"I was looking forward to seeing him play because he's such a good player," Metta World Peace said. "I'm sure when he gets back he's going to be a force. I know he wants to play."
Almost closing time
Kobe Bryant has one more year left on his contract, meaning this is one of his final trips with the Lakers to his hometown of Philadelphia.
"It's always special; I've always enjoyed it. But, yeah, now it becomes even a little more significant because it's coming toward the end," Bryant said.
He has never been embraced by Philadelphia fans, avowed Lakers haters who have overlooked his days as a star at Lower Merion High.
For whatever reason, Bryant, 34, averages a surprisingly low 22.8 points in 29 career games against Philadelphia. The only teams he averages fewer points against are Atlanta (22.1) and New Jersey/Brooklyn (22.6). His accuracy against Philadelphia is 45.9%, slightly above his career 45.3% mark.
He will be booed loudly during pregame introductions, as usual. He won't be the only one. There's a new Lakers player to antagonize.
"Philly fans have always been great to me, but I understand," Howard said. "We're like the most loved and hated team in the world."