In the latest chapter of the never-ending Andrew Bynum injury saga, the Philadelphia 76ers‘ center suffered additional damage to his already weakened knees (via ESPN). Already expected to be sidelined until January, Bynum’s future is now in doubt as the rehabilitation process has grown more extensive.
With that being said, Bynum’s injury history should be the least of the 76ers’ worries.
For those who are keeping track, Bynum partially dislocated his knee cap against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 (via ESPN). He then tore his MCL against the Grizzlies in 2009 (via L.A. Times) and tore his meniscus in 2010 (via ESPN Los Angeles).
Bynum received various injections during the 2012 offseason, which has all built up to this latest episode (via Philadelphia Daily News).
As Sixers fans are beginning to learn, the drama never ends with Bynum. He suffered the most recent injury while bowling, which is an odd choice of activity considering the big man was recovering from his fourth knee injury in five years.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, Bynum doesn’t see anything wrong with the way he received further damage.
I didn’t twist it or fall or nothing, Bynum said before his team took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. It kind of broke off cartilage and it made the bone bruise bigger. Obviously [how] is the question, it’s relatively nothing, it’s three steps [and roll]. That’s the most important thing and why everyone is being so cautious. I can’t answer and [doctors] can’t now either, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on.
I don’t think anybody could’ve told [me] I couldn’t do that, Bynum said. I was doing squatting and low-impact training. It is what it is. The cartilage is in a weakened state.
It is what it is? How about it isn’t.
Some will claim that those are mere words, but they mean more than that with a player of Bynum’s stature. Word choice is just as reflective on a superstar athlete’s perceived character as it is on a politician, which is exactly why Bynum’s “it is what it is” sums up his entire career.
Progressively more careless.
That’s not my opinion, folks. That comes from Bynum’s former teammates.
According to Spike Eskin of CBS Philly, SLAM Magazine senior editor Tzvi Twersky claims to have insider knowledge on Bynum’s disinterest. Twersky claims that a former teammate said there is no one in the NBA who enjoys basketball less than Bynum.
Could it be true?
I started investigating [the bowling] a little bit, Twersky said. And one of the people that I hit, a guy who has played with him before, he texted me back and said “I don’t know if that’s true [the bowling], but I do know that I’ve never met another player in the league who likes basketball less [than Bynum].”
The disclaimer is, I don’t know Andrew like that. From what I hear, he’s a good guy, Twersky said. But the fact that I heard this from a guy who has played with him before, it kind of made me think, “what’s going on here exactly?” That’s not the kind of a guy that I necessarily want to be maxing out.
No, it isn’t the kind of guy you want to max out.
This may be news to some, but those familiar with the Los Angeles Lakers are well-aware of Bynum’s disinterest. His body language was constantly criticized in Los Angeles, while his on-court effort was as inconsistent as Dwight Howard‘s trade requests.
Hence, the Lakers taking a potential off-the-court distraction over an on-court hindrance.
There is no question that Bynum is one of the premier talents in the NBA. With 2011-12 season averages of 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, the numbers are there to provide evidence to said claim.
Unfortunately, Bynum’s attitude remains an issue that overwhelms his physical gifts—even if it is a by-product of the frustration built up from constantly being injured.
To revisit a past issue, Bynum’s 2011-12 season was highlighted by an ill-advised three-point field goal attempt. The shot led to head coach Mike Brown benching the embattled big man, eventually bringing him back in for some of the most uninspired basketball you’ll ever see.
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Bynum again didn’t see anything wrong with his actions.
I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you, said Bynum, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes. I made one last [game] and wanted to make another one. I swear that’s it. I guess [coach Mike Brown] took offense to it and he put me on the bench.
Was the shot bench-worthy? Truthfully, no, it was not. Bynum did make one in the previous game and was wide open when he attempted it.
The issue is how he handled the event.
Brown may not be the most popular face in Los Angeles, but he was the head coach. Considering Bynum had never averaged more than 15.0 points per game until Brown came to town, it’s fair to say that he hadn’t earned such clout to go against his coach.
Especially not to question Brown’s actions to the media.
Bynum is an intelligent player with the talent to dominate on both ends of the floor. With the proper progression and attention to detail, he could become the greatest center of his generation.
Until Bynum learns of the proper way to handle the media and his body, however, the 76ers will be handcuffed by his inconsistency, not just his injuries.
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