During his ongoing 7 year stint in the NBA, Andrew Bynum has been anything but a sure thing to play on a nightly basis.
He’s played a full 82 game season just once (06-07) and less than 65 games those 6 other years (05-06, 07-12). In total, Bynum has missed 166 games, which is the equivalent of almost 2 full NBA seasons. *This does include the lockout shortened season of 11-12.
During the 76ers Media Day this past Monday, it was announced that Bynum will miss the next 3 weeks of training camp for precautionary reasons.
About a week before camp began, Andrew underwent Orthokine treatment on both of his knees. The procedure is noninvasive and involves the patients blood being extracted, processed and then re-introduced to the body as an anti-inflammatory drug to help reduce chronic pain. While seeing the Doctors, Bynum was also diagnosed with a bone bruise on the medial femoral condyle of his right knee, which was completely unrelated to the Orthokine treatment.
He will be limited to impact conditioning drills for the foreseeable future.
Long-term, this is the best decision the 76ers could have made.
This franchise just invested a lot into this 7 foot, 285 pound center. He’s the man now. He’s the franchise. With his history of injuries, it’s best to play things on the side of caution instead of testing the strength of his knees so early on.
This past year, Bynum proved he can maintain a clean bill of health and be a huge difference-maker on the court. He played and started in 60 of a possible 66 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last year while putting up averages of 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game. He was also voted in as the starting center for his very first NBA All-Star appearance.
Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins recently told Hoopsworld.com how important it is to have Bynum healthy and ready to go for the start of the season.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing. Nobody’s more disappointed than Andrew. I spoke to him the other day, and he is so champing at the bit to come in here and to live up to all the expectations. He knows what’s at stake. So much of what we’re going to do offensively and in the halfcourt is going to revolve around Andrew.
“I think it’s very important, as a player who went through injuries, one of the things you have to be very careful about is not letting the guy’s ambition and wanting to get out there too quickly get in the way of any long-term place of where you want to be. It could be that on Opening Night against Denver [Oct. 31], it could be the first game he plays for us. Hopefully, he’s going to be able to get on the practice court, maybe get a good week of work before we go into that opener.”
With a roster that includes 8 brand new players, it’s a tad troublesome knowing that Andrew won’t be able to have a full training camp to mesh and adapt with his new teammates.
He’s not a Los Angeles Laker anymore. He doesn’t have Pau Gasol in the paint and Kobe Bryant on the wing to cushion his fall.
It will be interesting to see (when he’s healthy of course) how Bynum adapts to being the focal point of an offense and if that will have a significant impact on his bad knees and his ability to stay healthy.
To add some optimism, Kobe Bryant also had the same Orthokine treatment on his own knees and he says “it added 5 more years to my legs”.
If anything, it’s probably better to see Andrew miss time now rather than missing a stretch of games in January/February when competing for ranking in the NBA Playoffs is of the utmost importance.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports