Andrew Bynum's limited All-Star appearance points to knee concerns
The goal remained clear cut in Andrew Bynum's eyes.
Playing on the NBA All-Star team would validate his arrival as an elite center. Yet, that stint kept delaying through six NBA seasons because Bynum couldn't stay healthy.
That point finally arrived Sunday when Bynum appeared in his first All-Star game in the West's 152-149 victory Sunday over the East. Yet, the same story ensued. Bynum's zero points on zero -of-three shooting, three rebounds and a block on Dwight Howard revealed little. Bynum remaining limited to six minutes revealed everything. He sat out after the 6:29 mark in the first quarter because of his sore right knee after having a routine injection on Saturday to treat it.
Granted, Bynum's mood during the remainder of the game hardly suggested he worried about it. Bynum told reporters he planned only to appear in the first rotation to minimize any risks. He plans to play Wednesday against Minnesota. As of right now, Laker fans shouldn't worry about Bynum's health.
But it's understandable for them if they do because they've seen how flimsy Bynum's knee has shown in previous seasons. The 2011-12 campaign has proven different. Bynum's points per game (16.3), rebounds (12.8) and minutes (34.6) all mark career-highs. The performances through the Lakers first 33 games finally shows how his offseason boxing and agility training, knee brace, seven-foot 213-pound frame, increased post presence and improved awareness on double teams provides all the tangible evidence Bynum's for real.
Yet, Bynum's discomfort in his right kness in the Lakers' 100-85 loss Thursday to Oklahoma City provides another reminder his growth remains fragile. Bynum has another set of 33 games to show efforts such as his procedure on Saturday will prevent any knee issues from stunting his growth. Meanwhile, Laker fans will anxiously wait, hoping misfortune doesn't strike again.
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Photo: West center Andrew Bynum missed three early shots in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday in Orlando. He played five minutes before sitting out the rest of the game with a sore knee. Credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images / February 26, 2012