Andrew Bynum Suffers Hyperextended Right Knee

Ryan WardCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2009









This season has been pretty promising thus far for the Los Angeles Lakers. Each player on the Lakers' roster came into this year with a chip on his shoulder after the Boston Celtics handled them with relative ease in the NBA Finals.

This season they are on a mission!

In the beginning, the Lakers were smoking hot and early front runners to go back to the finals in the West. Their defense was much improved and finally we all got to see Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum on the floor at the same time.

Coming back from his knee injury wasn't as easy as most anticipated for the young Bynum. Since he showed so much promise before he went down last January, Lakers fans were anxious to see what he could do.

It took a while to get back to his old ways, but after a career-high 42 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, the big kid seemed to have gotten his game back on the offensive end by scoring at around 26 points per game.

Not only was he becoming a dominant force in the paint with newfound confidence scoring the basketball, but he also began to improve in the rebounding category by ripping down 14 boards a night at one point.

Needless to say, the Lakers were becoming a dominant force in the NBA with Kobe, Pau, and especially Bynum coming into their own at just the right time. The West have been competitive, but with the Lakers' big three playing the way they have, no team in the West looks able to touch them.

It was the Jan. 13, 2008 match against the Memphis Grizzles when Bynum went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury, having dislocated his left knee cap. Ironically enough, just a little more than a year later Bynum hyperextended his right knee after colliding with Kobe Bryant under the basket against the exact same team in Memphis.

I thought this was kind of strange. Last season, Bynum injured his left knee on Jan. 13. This season he injures his opposite knee on the date reversed: Jan. 31. Probably just a coincidence, but for some reason that was the first thing to come to mind.

The Lakers came from behind and beat the Grizzles convincingly, 115-98. However, they definitely lost a key player on a team that seemed destined to become NBA champions. I'm not saying all hope is lost, but without Bynum patrolling the paint the Lakers might become vulnerable once again.

The X-ray results of Bynum's right knee did come back negative, so there are no bone breaks. However, he will undergo an MRI tomorrow in New York to evaluate the extent of the damage and to determine how long he may be out.

When you see a clip of the injury, it looks pretty serious and I wouldn't be surprised if he will be out for the season for the second year in a row. The way he was screaming in agony is painful to watch.

In an interview just after the game, Bynum said it didn't feel as bad as he did when he was injured last season and that he was able to put weight on his injured knee, which he couldn't do last year.

He feels he won't miss much time and seemed to be in good spirits, so that is a good sign. Still, he may be in for a surprise if the doc says he should pack it in for the rest of the season.