At first, he wasn't even injured, it was explained that he was being held out of preseason as a precautionary measure. He had just gotten an experimental knee treatment in Germany and was expected to be ready by opening. However, he then suffered an unrelated, and unexplained, bruise in his right knee. Soon, the timetable for Andrew Bynum’s return was thrown out—until recently.
Last week, the Sixers started reporting that Andrew Bynum would be returning to basketball activity on December 10th. Mind you, that was the date when Bynum could return to practice. He still wouldn’t have returned to games until he got in shape(and judging from how he looks right now that might have been a while).
It has recently been reported that Andrew Bynum injured his left knee while bowling. Now, the timetable says that he’s expected back in March at the earliest.
So, what does this mean? Well for one thing, it means that I don’t have to mention the fact that nobody knows when Andrew Bynum will return in every pregame article. It also means that if they intend to make the playoffs, the Sixers need to forge an identity indepent of Andrew Bynum. Most importantly, it means the Sixers need to think seriously about how Andrew Bynum factors into their future.
Last week, assuming Andrew Bynum healed on schedule and then took two weeks to get in shape, he would have missed 27 games. That’s nearly a third of the season. Now, if Bynum returns in time for the Sixers March 13th, game against Miami he’ll have missed 63 games. That’s over 75% of the season. The last time he played a full season was 2006-07.
Whether or not the Sixers are an elite team with Bynum on the floor remains to be seen. But, regardless of that, if the Sixers’s management plans on resting the franchise’s future(when the trade occurred, they said they intended to extend Bynum’s contract) on Bynum, they’ll also need to prepare for the probability that he’ll be on the sidelines 20% of the time in seasons going forward. The Lakers could get away with it because they had an excellent team without Bynum. So far, the Sixers have struggled to be even a decent team. And if they can’t figure out how to be an excellent team without Bynum, we’ll want a timetable for the Andrew Bynum Era.
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