Last night, sources told ESPN that Andrew Bynum’s recent “setback” in his recovery – especially on his left knee, not right, which is the one had been keeping him out – stemmed from a bowling incident: [ESPN.com]
Multiple sources told ESPN on Saturday that Bynum suffered an unspecified injury this month while bowling. On Friday, Bynum revealed that — on top of the issues with his right knee that could keep him sidelined until January — he also had suffered a "setback" with his left knee.
"I had a little bit of a setback, and we're just working through some issues with the right knee," Bynum said before the Sixers beat the Utah Jazz on Friday night. "I kind of have a mirror thing going on with my left knee. I don't know what's going on, but the doctors are saying pretty much that it's a weakened cartilage state."
Bowling is not prohibited by Bynum's contract, according to ESPN.
So, not only was “setback” a bunch of bullshit (because it’s pretty damn hard to suffer a setback in a new injury), but we learned that Bynum hurt his knee(s) away from the court, not because of some obscure “weakened cartilage” that he hurt doing "routine things," which is what he told reporters on Friday night.
Here’s the unofficial timeline on Bynum as a Sixer:
September: Undergoes previously scheduled knee procedure in Germany.
Early October: Sixers say that Bynum will be out roughly three weeks, hinting that Bynum’s absence was an expected outcome of the procedure done in Germany. Bynum says it’s unrelated. The official reason is a bone bruise.
mid-October: It’s reported that Bynum will undergo another minor knee procedure. The Sixers say it was previously scheduled, but no one outside the organization had heard about it.
Late October (three weeks): Sixers say Bynum will remain out until he’s pain free.
mid-November: After several articles by local and national media, this site, and a Howard Eskin report, all questioning whether Bynum is hurt more severely than the Sixers are saying, the team puts out a press release stating that Bynum likely won’t play until the New Year and that previous updates were complete bullshit– they knew all along Bynum would be out for a while. That night, Bynum confirms that earlier updates were complete bullshit.
Friday: Bynum tells reporters that he suffered a setback in his previously undamaged (relative) left knee.
Saturday night: ESPN reports Bynum’s setback is actually a new injury, which occurred while bowling.
If that doesn’t sound like the absolute worst possible start for Bynum with the Sixers, I don’t know what does. Some of you Sixers zealots absolutely crushed me for my cautious optimism (pessimism?) on Bynum. Just look at the comments of these posts from before the season. This was the issue all along– Bynum is a nut and, at age 25, has a long history of knee problems. And now, less than two months since practice began, the only contribution he has made to the Sixers is his goofy hair, present on the sidelines.
How the fuck does someone get a bone bruise and not know how they did it?
I included him missing the Phillies game in that timeline because – and this is purely conjecture – I’ve thought all along that he did something to his knee around that time. It seems more than coincidental that he bailed on a team appearance at the Phillies game, and then, a week later, showed up to training camp injured. Until now, that would have been an unfair accusation. But since his "setback" happened while bowling, not while doing anything remotely related to basketball, and since he kind of lied about it, it’s fair to question how he really hurt his knee in the first place.
What’s worse: All along, the Sixers have downplayed the injury, no doubt in an attempt to sell more tickets.* And they can’t even get on the same page with Bynum, who three different times has given a different update than what came from the team: first he said his sitting out practice wasn’t a result of his procedure (the Sixers hinted that it was), then he said the plan all along was to be out 8-12 weeks (the Sixers stopped way short of divulging that detail), and now he revealed “weakened cartilage” (something the Sixers never mentioned).
At the end of the day, the Bynum trade was still a good one, because the Sixers were able to move Andre Iguodala and, at worst, give themselves substantially more flexibility next summer (if they don’t re-sign Bynum). But this is exactly why many, myself included, were not doing jumping jacks about getting Bynum. He came with wayyyy too many question marks to assume that he would turn the Sixers into contenders.
*See, when the Phillies, Eagles or Flyers do this, they can’t be accused of the same thing because they all virtually sell out every night. With the Sixers, however, that’s not the case, and they likely got a bunch of people to buy tickets expecting to see Bynum.