OKLAHOMA CITY -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum made it through the first half of the season healthy and wants to stay that way, so he scheduled a procedure during NBA All-Star weekend to maintain his right knee.
Bynum will visit his knee specialist, Dr. David Altchek, on Friday to receive a Synvisc injection into his right knee. The 24-year-old center received surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee in the summer of 2010 and now wears a brace to cover it during games.
Synvisc is a natural substance that serves as a lubricant when injected into the knee. The substance's website states Synvisc "can provide up to six months of osteoarthritis knee pain relief with just one injection."
Bynum flew to Orlando, Fla., after putting up 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Lakers' 100-85 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. Bynum was voted into the All-Star Game for the first time in his seven-year career this season and will start for the Western Conference on Sunday. He will attend All-Star mandated activities Friday morning and then make the approximately two-hour drive to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to meet Altchek and receive the injection. Altcheck, the medical director for the New York Mets, is in Port St. Lucie for the Mets' spring training.
Bynum will sit out practice Saturday while recovering from the injection. He is still expected to start in Sunday's All-Star Game. Patients receiving a Synvisc injection are advised to avoid strenuous activity for about 48 hours after the substance is administered.
After missing an average of 31 games because of injury in the previous four seasons, Bynum has played in 30 of the Lakers' 34 games in 2011-12, and the only games he missed were because of a four-game suspension to start the season.
Bynum is averaging career highs in points (16.3), rebounds (12.8) and minutes (34.6) per game. He is also averaging 2.03 blocks per game (seventh best in the NBA) while shooting 55.4 percent from the field (fourth best).
"Really I'm just looking forward to the rest," Bynum said when asked Thursday about All-Star weekend. "I'm just looking forward to the rest."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.