Andrew Bynum out with Injury, but Lakers' Loss Not Too Taxing

George TitusContributor IFebruary 4, 2009

It's like déjà vu all over again.

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be out for approximately eight to 12 weeks with a torn ligament in his right knee.

Bynum suffered a similar injury last season, dislocating his left kneecap and costing him the season.

It’s very disheartening for the team and its fans. It’s very unfortunate, as his career seems to be on the upswing.

I think the Lakers are going to be OK with the players they have on the squad.

Lost in all the noise over Kobe's 61 points against the New York Knicks on Monday, was Pau Gasol's quiet 31 points and 14 rebounds. Lamar Odom will see a significant amount of playing time, and the Kobe-Pau Combo will take over leadership responsibilities and guide the team to the playoffs.

The biggest area in which the Lakers will have to make up for Bynum’s loss is defense. Bynum was a force on the inside. Bynum’s presence in the paint is phenomenal.

The Lakers will also miss Bynum’s rebounding skills. This season before his injury, Bynum was second on the team in rebounds, with an average of 8.2 rebounds per game. Also, Bynum was second on the team with 2.8 offensive boards per game behind Gasol’s 3.3.

Bynum's quiet leadership on the court will be severely missed. Bynum might be the most vocal player on the team, but his presence dictates the game, and it carries a lot of weight.

Luckily for the Lakers, the Western Conference has been relatively weak in 2009 relative to past seasons.

The Lakers hold a sizable lead in the conference, and I don't see it diminishing that easily this season.

The team does have some usual foes it has to take care of to advance in the playoffs—most notably the San Antonio Spurs. They have championship and veteran experience. However, I’m not sure their experience will lead them far in the playoffs.

One team that can really be a thorn in the Lakers’ side is the Utah Jazz. Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan's teams always play tough come June and once all the stars align and the team is healthy, they can be a very hard team to beat.

The team has two tall and versatile finesse guys in Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko who can drive in as well as shoot long range.

With forward Carlos Boozer on the inside, the Jazz can just keep pounding the ball to the hoop while point guard Deron Williams choreographs the offense.

With up-and-coming players like Corey Brewer and Paul Millsap on the bench, they will be a tough team in the playoffs. The same thing goes for teams like the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, who once healthy can turn the tables on the Lakers.

When it comes down to it, I don’t foresee the Lakers having many problems with the loss of Bynum. The team will pull through and storm into the playoffs.