EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Lakers are relying on Andrew Bynum to anchor their defense in the stretch run and through the playoffs.
Meanwhile, their oft-injured sixth-year center is still feeling the effects of offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, which forced him to miss the season's first 24 games. He sat out a game Feb. 1 in Houston with a bone bruise in his left knee. Over the past four seasons, Bynum has missed 121 of a possible 303 games.
"It's getting better, but I don't feel the same [as before the surgery]. It is what it is," he said Monday afternoon following practice.
Through 32 games this season, including 25 in the starting lineup, Bynum is averaging 11.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 25.5 minutes.
He expects the condition of his knee to improve, and pre-surgery explosiveness to return, but understands the need to be patient.
"It will come back," Bynum said. "I just need time. I need work and time. That's it."