L.A. Lakers: Andrew Bynum Injures His Knee and the Lakers’ 3-Peat Hopes

The Los Angeles Lakers had already been struggling over the course of their last five games, but a knee injury to center Andrew Bynum in the second quarter of Tuesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs could change things significantly.

Bynum stepped on Spurs forward Dejuan Blair's foot and seemed to hyper-extend his knee, but the scariest image was Bynum's body language in the aftermath.

Bynum sat on the floor with his head cradled in his knees and when he did make his face visible the pain was impossible to miss.

The Lakers have scheduled an MRI for Wednesday, but by the looks of things the prognosis could be grim.

Bynum did walk off the court under his own power and that is an encouraging sign, but there is a chance that the already injury-depleted Lakers could be facing yet another postseason with a less than healthy Bynum.

The Lakers attitude seemed to change after Bynum went down, and instead of feeling a sense of urgency against the short-handed Spurs, the Lakers seemed to be stunned by Bynum's injury.

San Antonio sat Tim Duncan and Tony Parker for Tuesday's game, but the Spurs' reserves were giving the Lakers starters all they could handle up until Bynum was injured.

The outcome of that game does have a bearing on the final seedings for the playoffs, but the bigger question is what happens to the Lakers if Bynum is unable to go in the postseason?

Most people assume that the Lakers are a solid candidate for the 2011 NBA Finals even without Bynum, and although that statement may be true, the chances of the Lakers winning once they get there are slim.

Bynum gives the Lakers a size advantage in the post when paired with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom that few teams in the NBA can match, but the toughness he adds may be irreplaceable.

Bynum has the strength and mean streak to neutralize the perception that the Lakers are soft in the middle, and...

About the Author