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More Progress for Bynum

There are plenty of expectations out in Los Angeles riding on the shoulders of a certain still-recovering young center.  But the latest reports are the best yet regarding Andrew Bynum's physical condition.

From's Marty Burns:

Lakers center Andrew Bynum might not be quite ready to start playing NBA basketball just yet. But the 7-footer looks bigger and stronger than ever, and is able to run with no apparent effects from the knee injury that wiped out his season last January.

At least that's the report from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who traveled to Atlanta this week along with VP Jim Buss and Director of Scouting Bill Bertka to check in on his rehabilitating 20-year-old star.

"He looks to be in great shape. He looks ready to go," Kupchak said in a phone interview Thursday. "There's no reason to believe he won't be 100 percent for training camp."

Though Bynum did not play five-on-five basketball during the two-day visit, Kupchak said he watched the 7-foot, 280-pounder go through a strenuous workout that included running, jumping and various agility drills.

"That's the reason I went there," Kupchak said. "I wanted to see him run unencumbered, go through agility drills, jumping drills, the things players do... You hope they don't limp or favor a leg. He did not.

Sounds like there is still a bit left to do, but with the season opener still nearly two months away, the Lakers should finally have had enough time to get Bynum back on the floor for good.

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No matter the uniform Bynum wears, it's hard not to be at least hoping the kid gets a real shot to play at full strength.  He's just got too much capability to have it all be downhill from here.  Bynum didn't even play 30 minutes per game last season and still averaged 13 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks per game.  He was getting better each time out on the court, playing smart basketball, working hard and becoming a force inside for the Lakers. 

While I'll be rooting against him as a Laker, this youngster could be one of the game's premier bigs sooner rather than later.  It would be nice to see him get a chance to prove it uninhibited by his body.  And as Burns mentions, Bynum is up for a contract extension before the season starts, which means there is only more impetus for him to get himself into game shape as quickly as he can.