Andrew Bynum says he’ll skip Olympics


SAN ANTONIO -- Lakers center Andrew Bynum is not interested in playing in the Olympics because he wants extra rest and also plans to undergo the same innovative knee procedure that Kobe Bryant had in Germany last summer.

“I’ve got to take care of my legs in the off-season,” Bynum said Friday. “I’ve got some things planned for my knees.... I’ve got to do some therapy that I’m going overseas to do.”

Bynum has undergone surgical procedures on each of his knees in recent years.

The procedure in Germany is much less invasive and marketed as Regenokine or Orthokine.

It targets proteins or molecules called interleukin that cause inflammatory responses. Blood is removed from the affected area of a patient and spun in a centrifuge. The antagonists of interleukin are removed to create a serum that is injected back into the targeted area.

The recovery period is remarkably short. Bryant has often complimented the results of the procedure, which he had on his ailing right knee and troublesome left ankle during two separate visits to molecular orthopedist Peter Wehling.

“I feel a lot stronger and a lot quicker and able to get to the basket and free-throw line,” Bryant said earlier this season.

Team USA is short on centers because Orlando’s Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery and miss the Olympics, which begin July 29 for basketball.

Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who also might have played center, will skip the Olympics because of hip surgery.

Bynum, 24, was an All-Star this season for the first time in his seven-year career. He was averaging 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds before Friday’s game against San Antonio.

Bynum was contacted before the 2008 Olympics about playing for the U.S. but had to pass because he was coming off knee surgery. He has not been contacted this week by USA Basketball, which will decide in the next two weeks which players to add to its shrinking roster.

Miami’s Chris Bosh and Minnesota’s Kevin Love are power forwards who could also play center in the international game, which sometimes puts more emphasis on shorter post players with speed and shooting touch rather than brute strength.

Lamar Odom, keep in mind, played center while the U.S. won a gold medal in the FIBA 2010 World Championships.

Meanwhile, Bryant will not merely be “a closer” despite his repeated insistence he will let younger Team USA players do all the scoring and swoop in at the end if needed.

“He’s not changing,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo told The Times on Friday at an event sponsored by Jeep in Santa Monica. “He’s one of the top two or three guys we’ve ever seen who loves to compete. If he’s capable, he’s going to be there. He’s not going to change his game.”

This will probably be the last Olympic run for Bryant, who will be almost 38 for the 2016 Olympics.

Pau Gasol will play again for Spain, which lost to the U.S. in the 2008 gold-medal game, 118-107.

One player who won’t appear in this year’s Olympics is Odom, Colangelo said. Odom was recently deactivated by the Dallas Mavericks.

“Lamar Odom had a year that is a forgettable year for him,” Colangelo said. “I don’t think he possibly, physically or emotionally, could be ready to participate and contribute.”

Kuester absent

Lakers assistant coach John Kuester will rejoin the team next week after attending the funeral of his mother. Kuester is the main assistant under Coach Mike Brown.

Times special correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report from Santa Monica.