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Lakers center Andrew Bynum passing the time with Call of Duty and plenty of books

November 27, 2010 |  5:52 pm

57825347At first, the routine seemed like a nice break from the physical grind of the regular season. But soon enough, the routine became a mental grind in coping with idle hands.

"Sometimes it's cool to sit back and watch" the game, Lakers center Andrew Bynum said, whether it's on the sideline or the trainer's room as he's rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. "But unfortunately, I've been watching a lot. I want to play."

When you count the Lakers' (13-3) training camp and regular-season games, that's 24 total Bynum has watched from an outsiders' perspective. Add 25 to the running total when the Lakers host the Indiana Pacers (7-7) at Staples Center on Sunday for a 6:30 p.m. matchup.

That's why the Lakers' practice Saturday didn't just mark the first time he practiced with the team in a few contact drills. It also coincided with Bynum's proclamation to reporters afterward that he's set a personal goal to return to the court within three weeks. Bynum's revelation is by no means a medical diagnosis and it doesn't necessarily reflect the team's training staff sentiments, considering Bynum's admission that "I want to get back more than they want me back at this point because they want me to be healthy."

Still, it marks a step, no matter the exact significance, in Bynum's long-term quest to return with a fully healthy knee. Aside from his rehab efforts and watching film, Bynum for now will pass the time with other things.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops," Bynum proudly boasted when I asked him what he does to pass the time. "Killing zombies all day."

Something tells me Bynum should compete with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who recently appeared in a commercial featuring the video game. Bynum isn't just sharpening his hand-eye coordination. He's been reading a few books that could apply to his own personal life.

He just completed this week "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Goldwell, a book Bynum says explains in detail "how things get big" such as how a company's modified marketing strategy yields more profits or how selecting the right group of friends helps an individual meet other people. On a personal note, I realized after the fact a close friend gave this book to me for Christmas two years ago, but I haven't bothered to read it yet. I have an excuse, though. I'm not on the injured reserve list. But Bynum is, which is why he plans to start a book about personal fitness. Feel free to insert your punchline here.

"It talks about how your body works, how muscles work," Bynum said. "I may as well educate myself on that so I can use it to our advantage."

Bynum and the Lakers surely hope so. Or else he'll just continue racking up personal records on Call of Duty: Black Ops and filling his book shelf. 

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum gets plenty of defensive attention from the Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals last spring. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times