Bynum Continues To Progress
EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally written on 4/1/09. The video was added on 4/3/09.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been undergoing supervised basketball and conditioning workouts at L.A.ís practice facility since Monday, March 23, making progress towards the full rehabilitation of the MCL in his right knee that was torn on Jan. 31st in Memphis.
According to team spokesman John Black, Bynum is operating under the watchful eyes of both Lakers Director of Scouting/Basketball Consultant Bill Bertka and longtime team physical therapy consultant Clive Brewster of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Bertka has been putting Bynum through various basketball drills while Brewster Ė who has successfully rehabilitated injuries suffered by Mitch Kupchak, Magic Johnson, James Worthy and others Ė is in charge of Bynumís step-by-step rehabilitation.
Black explained that Bynum has been at the El Segundo facilities for around an hour to an hour and a half every day since the 23rd, participating in 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 drills, big man drills and back-to-the-basket work. The 21-year-old from New Jersey (who was averaging 26.2 points, 13.8 boards and 3.2 blocks in the five games leading up to his injury) is also going through extensive running drills and other conditioning work, and is already at his playing weight.
Before progressing to a new stage of workouts or rehab, Bynum needs a personal green light from Brewster, a long-time professional who is in constant communication with Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti. Indeed, upon the Lakersí return to Los Angeles on Thursday, Vitti will meet with Brewster to get fully updated on Bynumís progress.
The next step for Bynum is to go through non-contact drills with the team upon the Lakersí return from their seven-game road trip; the drills include dummy offensive sets, fast break drills, full court conditioning and more. Should that go well, Brewster and Vitti would have to approve Bynumís inclusion in regular scrimmaging with the team, which Black said could begin as soon as a week or so down the road. Brewsterís direct supervision will cede only once Bynum resumes practicing fully with the team and indicates heís ready to play in games, at which point Phil Jackson will activate his young center.
Perhaps the most encouraging news on Bynumís progress is that heís consistently spoken positively about his knee, and maintained a high level of confidence that he will return this season. Whereas Bynumís left knee cap injury suffered last season produced often negative reports of pain and discomfort after workouts, Bynum this year has suffered no negative repercussions from his activities.
The Lakers continue to stay away from target dates, and will continue to collectively monitor Bynumís development on a day-to-day basis.To read more about Bynum's progress since Jan. 31, CLICK HERE and follow the links timeline at the bottom of the page.