We told you this weekend, Andrew Bynum is close to returning. No, we really mean it this time.
Phil Jackson reacts to that like a coach — he wants to win games now. He knows he needs Andrew Bynum healthy come May and June to get his three-peat, but he sees Indiana being able to get into the paint on his team and nobody defending the rim and he gets frustrated.
So he does a little backhand slap of Andrew Bynum for not being healed on schedule. As if Bynum has ever healed on schedule. But Jackson came off as frustrated with Bynum to the Los Angeles Times.
“We had hoped that (Bynum’s return date) would be three weeks about three weeks ago,” Jackson said Sunday before detailing the months-long wait for Bynum’s return from knee surgery last July.
“This [surgery] is something that was supposed to take place after the season and he was supposed to be ready by the season, and we built our team around that fact. Well, everything got delayed,” Jackson said. “His operation wasn’t done on time, Andrew was late to his operation, there was a whole myriad of things that have gone on in this thing.
“But the type of operation he has is a very unique operation. It’s not just a simple operation, so that changed the complexity of all this.”
Jackson is being a bit disingenuous here. Bynum’s surgery after the season was delayed so he could go to the World Cup and Europe for vacation — something Jackson encouraged him to do. Don’t go blaming Bynum now for something you were good with in July. (The surgery was pushed back two weeks a second time due to the availability of the doctor, unrelated to Bynum.)
Then the surgery ended up being more complicated and requiring a longer healing process than had been anticipated. It was going to take time. Still is taking time. Why the Lakers expected Bynum back on their or their doctor’s timetables remains a mystery. Bynum heals on Bynum time. Always has.
And in the end, as frustrated as Jackson gets, he needs Bynum at the end of the season more than the start. So he needs to let Bynum heal, at his own pace.