Another Lakers Playoff run, another Andrew Bynum injury with major implications. In Game 6 of the Thunder series, Bynum re-aggravated what the team is calling a “small tear” in the lateral meniscus of his right knee (an injury he originally suffered during last year’s NBA Finals).
Bynum, who posted eight points and ten boards in the series opening win against Utah yesterday, is opting to put off surgery until the offseason, as he attempts to help the Lakers win back-to-back titles.
Considering that in his five-year career, Bynum has suffered knee injuries in three of them, some can’t help but wonder if playing through the pain is the right call from the injury-prone big fella:
Teammates and the front-office are fully in support of his choice. Yahoo! reports:
Considering how bad the other knee injuries were, Bynum actually considered this a breath of fresh air. “I’ve had so many,” Bynum said. “The first one is the worst one. The second one it’s like, are you serious? The third one, I’m used to it. You just go through it.”
Said Kupchak: “Apparently, it’s something he can play with. I know he has some discomfort. But this is his fifth season and he’s a gamer. He understands that this is the time of year where you play. Now, my understanding is the injury is such that he has some discomfort he can play on. And then it gets to the point where you have too much discomfort, you don’t play. So we’re not that concerned about it developing into something bigger than it is today. We’re just hoping that game to game he can continue to make a contribution. I thought he did today.”
While Kobe Bryant(notes) used to be hard on Bynum for not quickly reaching his potential, he was proud of him Sunday for his display of toughness. “He is doing a great job,” Bryant said. “He’s playing through an injury. Sometimes you have to do that. I think it shows maturity for the young player to start figuring out how to play around that and do different things to be effective despite the injury. That’s how you grow.”
Andrew Bynum and the team seem to believe the injury isn’t serious enough to shut it down and get surgery immediately, and he’ll try to gut it out for as long as possible. It’ll be interesting to see at what level he can play the rest of the way, and ultimately, how healthy he can be in the future.