What Latest Setback Means for Andrew Bynum's Career

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 30, 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

No one trusts Andrew Bynum.

The Los Angeles Lakers displayed that belief over the summer when they found a way to flip him for Dwight Howard, and with each new injury, setback or ridiculous story, the Philadelphia 76ers and every other team in the NBA will feel the same way.

Bynum's newest setback, which—unsurprisingly—came following a bowling injury, is the most dispiriting yet.

From ESPN's Brian Windhorst:

Sixers GM Tony DiLeo said tonight that Andrew Bynum now out indefinitely. Sixers previously hoped for mid-Dec. return to practice

— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 24, 2012

First, Bynum was supposed to miss part of the preseason. Then all of the preseason. Then just the first week of the regular season. Then he was due back in mid-November. Now he's out indefinitely. 

Um, yeah, that's not exactly the direction this recovery process is supposed to be headed. In fact, it's the exact opposite direction it's supposed to be headed. 

At any rate, we knew this coming in. We knew Bynum wasn't what you would call the ideal picture of health. He missed 47 games in 2007-08. Thirty-two in '08-'09. Seventeen in '09-'10. Another 12 last season.

That's 108 games missed in four seasons. 

Nevertheless, we had come to accept the fact that Bynum would only play 80 percent of every season simply because of his oozing potential and unique skill set.

That potential came to life last season: 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 0.5 steals per game. A 58-percent mark from the field and 59 percent true-shooting percentage. 

Essentially, Bynum convinced us that he was above the line on the talent-injury scale, which coincidentally enough is similar to the hot-crazy scale. As long as Bynum's talent and production outweighed his injury problems, we were willing to accept him as elite. As one of the best centers in the league.

Unfortunately, with yet another setback, Bynum is starting to slip below that line. The injuries are becoming too hard to ignore. 

If he can't get through a game of bowling without hurting himself, and if the surgery that worked on Kobe Bryant and Grant Hill didn't work on him, how will we ever trust him?

How will we expect him to go rigorous, physical season after rigorous, physical season without constantly being forced to dress in a suit and grow his hair out in, um, interesting ways?

Unfortunately for Bynum, this is the worst time for those questions to arise.

The 25-year-old center is set to hit free agency after the season, and you can bet that every game he misses from this point on will only continue to shrink his upcoming contract. 

When it comes down to it, Andrew Bynum's latest—but certainly not last—injury problem means he's going to have to continue doing what he's done his entire career and thought he had accomplished during last year's breakout campaign: Convince teams of his value.