Center Andrew Bynum underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday in New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers said they expect him to make a full recovery by the start of training camp next fall.
The 30-minute procedure, performed by Dr. David Altchek, consisted of removing some cartilage debris and smoothing some rough spots on the underside of Bynum's left kneecap, the team said.
Bynum had the operation on the same day the Lakers opened the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.
"Everything seemed to go well," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, adding that from what he had heard, Bynum should be 100 percent in about three months. "I think Andrew's glad he did it."
Bynum hasn't played since suffering a bone bruise in his knee and a subluxation of the kneecap _ a brief dislocation that popped back into place _ in the third quarter of a 100-99 victory over Memphis on Jan. 13. He was having a breakout season, averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in 35 games.
"That's perfect," Lakers forward Lamar Odom said when informed of the news. "Andrew is really important to us. We'll all be waiting for him. As soon as this game is over, I'll be sure to holler at him, wish him well."
The Lakers estimated a day after the 20-year-old center was injured that he'd be sidelined eight to 12 weeks. But 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 surgery was performed two weeks after that.
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.
Bynum, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, averaged 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 46 games as a rookie, and 7.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.56 blocked shots in 82 games in his second season.