How injury prone is Andrew Bynum? Is it a glass half full and this was just a series of flukes? Or is the parade of injuries a pattern that will continue through his career?
Phil Jackson was pretty honest about it when asked by the Los Angeles Times while in Barcelona with the team on its European vacation.
“We’re hopeful that this is the time he’s able to start playing consistently through a season,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. “If not, we’re going to have to look at Andrew as a short-minute guy, somebody like Yao Ming who’s going to be limited in the amount of minutes he plays.”
“If his knee doesn’t hold up after having this process, then we’ll have to think about what kind of minutes he can play in a career,” Jackson said. “This would be a [fourth] consecutive year that things didn’t go well. We’re concerned. That’s why we’re giving this extra time, or the doctors asked for extra time for this to heal, so when this heals, his career can go forward instead of having these stops in the middle of the season.”
Yao Ming, as you recall, is being limited to 24 minutes a game to start the season by the Rockets, he played just 12 in the team’s first preseason game. The Lakers are into Bynum for two seasons after this (with a team option for the third year).
This season Lakers are counting on Theo Ratliff to give them a little depth at the five so Bynum’s minutes can stay down (although in his first preseason game Ratliff looked winded after just a few minutes of run). Rookie Derrick Caracter could also help out there.
Bottom line, the Lakers need Bynum to three-pete. If he can’t stay healthy, the Lakers will fall short and the franchise will have to re-think its post-Kobe plans.