Andrew Bynum: Injury Woes Prove 76ers Made Mistake Trading for Star Center

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent INovember 13, 2012

Oct 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) before the game against the Boston Celtics at the Wachovia Center. The Sixers defeated the Celtics 107-75. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Andrew Bynum's knees are likely going to delay his highly anticipated Philadelphia 76ers debut until next year. Shocking, I know. How could anyone have anticipated that Bynum would have knee problems?

Oh, that's right, everyone could have anticipated it, and therein lies a huge part of the reason why it was foolish for the 76ers to pin the hopes of their franchise on a young man with the knees of a 90-year-old carpet installer.  

Bynum suffered a bone bruise back in September and the recovery has not been going as expected. ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted out information on the third delay to Bynum's return date.

Sixers announce Andrew Bynum projected to resume hoop activity Dec. 10 but likely to need 1-to-4 weeks of practice/conditioning from there

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 12, 2012

This is just the way things go with Bynum's knees. It's not his fault, and I always feel bad for an athlete whose body prevents them from reaching their potential, but his history made this sort of circumstance all but inevitable. It also means this is just the start of the frustration involved with getting Bynum on the court. 

You can feel a glimpse of this frustration in a quote from a statement released by Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo, which comes to us from ESPN's Brian Windhorst

We also know no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon.

There is no confidence in "hopefully"; there is a wing and a prayer, and the Sixers were foolish if they were expecting anything else when they traded All-Star Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a future first-round pick to get the 25-year-old center and Jason Richardson.

Bynum enjoyed good health last year in the lockout-shortened season, but he hadn't played in more than 65 games in any of his previous four seasons. 

He's had multiple surgeries on both knees and it would be nonsense to expect his knee problems to get better with age. 

On top of all of that, Bynum is in the last year of his contract. So, the Sixers now have to decide if they want to sign this injury-prone center to a long-term deal or watch him walk after just one injury-plagued season.

Neither option is ideal, and it should have been avoided. 

Sure, the Sixers unloaded a bad contract with Andre Iguodala, but he only had a player option for next season remaining on that deal

The Sixers were trading for fool's gold when they made this deal, and it is already biting them. The best thing for them to do now is forget about Bynum past this season, and try to utilize the freedom that will come with his salary coming off the books.