Andrew Bynum’s Knee, Sasha Vujacic’s Future Take Center Stage for Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers' center Andrew Bynum finally decided to have surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his knee, and the Lakers may finally have come to a conclusion about Sasha Vujacic's future with the team.

Bynum recently had successful arthroscopic surgery in New York for the right knee he injured during last season's playoffs, but that doesn't stop the question as to why he took so long to do it.

Bynum may have been fearful of going under the knife yet again, or he could have been basking in the glow of his second consecutive championship with the Lakers, but his timing was terrible.

Bynum's value to the Lakers has increased, especially since he stands as the primary foil to Miami's new super team, but most reports say he will be limited once training camp rolls around.

Bynum's decision to delay surgery reminds me of Shaquille O'Neal's choice to do the same during his time in Los Angeles, and his struggle to get in shape after the nominal procedure was done.

The Western conference will be tighter than ever this season, and a healthy Bynum is essential to getting the jump on what will be a very competitive group of teams seeking the Lakers' crown.

Furthermore, Bynum's presence gives the Lakers the NBA's tallest and most talented front line, and when paired with Pau Gasol, it is the one area where opposing defenses have no answer.

Bynum's development has progressed to the point he could arguably be called the league's most fundamentally gifted true center, but he runs the risk of another setback if he is not fully healed for training camp.

The addition of Theo Ratliff means that the Lakers can be more cautious with Bynum's rehab, in much the same manner they were when Gasol missed the first few weeks of the 2009-10 season.

But even though Ratliff can be a defensive force, he doesn't bring the same offensive dominance that Bynum is ...

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