When the Pacers went out and got Andrew Bynum — paying him $1 million after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him and the Bulls cut him — it was always a long shot. They already had Ian Mahinmi as a backup center behind Roy Hibbert. If Bynum worked out and was an upgrade, great. If not, well at least the Heat couldn’t throw him at them in the playoffs.
It looks more and more like it will be the latter outcome.
Indiana made official Friday that Bynum will be out indefinitely with “soreness and swelling in his right knee.” This echoes what Pacers coach Frank Vogel told our own Brett Pollakoff a few days ago.
“He played in the Detroit game (20 minutes), aggravated a previous condition and had some swelling in there,” Vogel said. “He’s going to be out for a little while.”
It took two games, 20 minutes in the second one, to have this setback (Bynum did have 15 points and 9 boards in that second game). Not a good sign.
Indefinitely is vague, so it is possible Bynum returns for the postseason, but if you are familiar with Bynum and his recovery timeline the odds of him being back in a month when the playoffs begin are not good. The idea of him contributing in the playoffs, at least anything of significance, is also limited at best.
The Pacers have bigger issues right now, having lost their momentum and having gone 5-5 in their last 10 (with the wins coming against the weaker sisters of the Eastern Conference, the Pacers didn’t look impressive in those games). The biggest problem is their defense has slipped from its elite levels in that time, plus there is frustration about getting good shots in the offense (we’re looking at you, Lance Stephenson). Nothing that can’t be worked out, but the Pacers haven’t been quite the same since not long after the All-Star break and they need to find that groove again soon.
Andrew Bynum will not help them with that.