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Howard’s back vs. Bynum’s knees. Kupchak calls it a toss up.

Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard looks on in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)


Which is the bigger risk:

Andrew Bynum’s chronic knee problems or Dwight Howard’s back coming off surgery?

Bynum has had knee issues throughout his career and while he played in the 2010 finals and 60 (of 66) games last season, he has had to take the summer off to recuperate and has yet to start practicing with the Sixers (and got another injection Monday). Howard has been ironman healthy over the course of his career but had back surgery after the season that he is still recovering from fully, and backs can be tricky things.

The Lakers GM Mitch Kupchack had that choice and said injury wise it was a toss up when speaking with Ramona Shelburne of Tuesday.

“Whatever concern we had (with Bynum’s knees) was offset by Dwight coming off offseason back surgery,” Kupchak told on Tuesday. “Our doctors were able to look at (Howard’s medical records) but not until after the trade, which was conditional on him passing a physical.”

The biggest question for the Lakers is if the back surgery slowed Howard’s mobility — maybe his greatest strength at both ends of the floor is how quickly he moves for a man his size. Reports out of practice are that Howard has looked like his old self, but he has yet to play in a game.

Bynum is expected to return to practice Oct. 24, one week before the Sixers open the season.