1 of 2 | Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum beats Boston Celtics' Kendrick Perkins to the tip off during the first half in Los Angeles on December 25, 2008. The Lakers beat the Celtics 92-83 ending the Celtics 19 game winning streak. (UPI Photo/ Phil McCarten) | License Photo
NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be out of action eight to 12 weeks because of a knee injury, the team said Monday.
Bynum sustained a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee in a collision with teammate Kobe Bryant during Saturday's 115-98 win over Memphis. The injury will not require surgery, but Bynum will miss at least 27 of the Lakers' final 36 regular-season games, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Bynum will rest his knee for a week to 10 days and then begin a rehabilitation program, team spokesman John Black said.
Bynum told KCAL-TV Monday he was "actually relieved" by the diagnosis because he thought the injury "would have been a lot worse, especially with how I got hit."
An injury to his left knee in January 2008 sidelined Bynum for the remainder of the 2007-08 season, including the playoffs -- when the Lakers reached the NBA Finals and lost to the Boston Celtics.
Bynum had been on a roll, averaging 26.2 points, 14 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots during the last five games before he was removed in the first quarter against Memphis.
Pao Gasol will play center in Bynum's absence and Lamar Odom will join the starting lineup at strong forward, the report said.
Before the team announced Bynum would be out for up to three months, Bryant said Monday the Lakers can win without their big man.
"I think having Andrew in the lineup makes us a very dominant team," Bryant said. "(With) him out of the lineup, we're still a great team. You put him in the mix and it takes us to another level."