EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -More than four months after Andrew Bynum injured his left knee, it's been decided the Los Angeles Lakers center will undergo arthroscopic surgery.
The Lakers made the announcement Sunday, saying Dr. David Altchek will perform the procedure in New York on Wednesday - the same day Bynum's team entertains San Antonio or New Orleans to begin the Western Conference finals.
An estimated timetable for Bynum's return will be provided following the surgery.
``I just hope for the best for him,'' teammate Luke Walton said following a light practice Sunday. ``He was a huge part of our success early on and he's going to be a huge part of our future.''
The Lakers said the procedure will entail a cleanup of some rough spots and fraying on the underside of Bynum's kneecap.
Bynum hasn't played since injuring his knee in the third quarter of a 100-99 victory over Memphis on Jan. 13 at Staples Center. The 20-year-old center averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in 35 games.
The Lakers estimated a day after Bynum was injured that he would be sidelined eight to 12 weeks. But coach Phil Jackson said April 21 that a return this season was remote, and Bynum said much the same thing shortly thereafter.
Dr. Altchek examined Bynum in New York on April 10 and declined to clear him for practice. The 7-footer was examined again May 7 in Princeton, N.J., by Dr. Steven Gecha, who said there had been some improvement in the knee, but recommended exploratory surgery if there wasn't more in the ensuing three to four weeks.
The decision was made a lot sooner than that.
``It's hard, I know that he is probably really frustrated right now,'' Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic said. ``He's going through tough times. We miss him. Everybody knows he's going to have a good, long career in the NBA. He'll come back when he's ready.''
Despite Bynum's absence, the Lakers went 57-25 to earn the top seed in the West, and 8-2 to eliminate Denver and Utah from the playoffs to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2004.
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