Or at least, that’s what ESPN’s Skip Bayless has heard.
First Take’s Bayless said that someone inside the Philadelphia 76ers organization has told him Andrew Bynum has a degenerative knee condition (Michael Kaskey-Blomain of philly.com):
At one point during the discussion, Bayless said that a source inside the Sixers organization told him that the most recent MRI on Andrew Bynum’s knees showed “degeneration,” meaning in effect that they will never return to full strength. Bynum was also a no-show in the locker room prior to Tuesday’s game, when he was scheduled to give an update on his condition.
Bayless continued by explaining that Andrew may show some flashes of the dominance he displayed last season, when he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Lakers, but he will be unable to sustain it, as the knees will never be able to fully recover.
Though Blomain goes onto note that Bayless isn’t known for having NBA contacts, one can’t help but wonder if oft-egregious Bayless has the inside track of what’s going on in Philly. I mean, if this is indeed the truth, it would should sure explain a lot. Like why Doug Collins had a full-fledged meltdown following a loss to the Orlando Magic, for instance.
A degenerative knee is nothing to mess with. Brandon Roy was forced to retire under similar conditions and his comeback attempt has proved essentially fruitless. He will never be the high-scoring star he once was and if Bayless’ assertion holds up, the same can be said for Bynum.
Knees are a fickle limb for big men as it is. Supporting the weight of seven-foot towers is no easy task. Degenerative ones, though? Forget about it. They effectively never fully heal and instead threaten to derail a player’s entire career.
Now, it’s important to understand that Bayless’ sentiments cannot be construed as an official report. Right now, it’s just hearsay. But we can’t pretend like it isn’t a possibility.
Bynum has suffered setback after setback, and has yet to play a single second this season. This particular diagnosis merely keeps in theme with an already depressing narrative.
And while I won’t go as far as to postulate Bynum’s career would be over if this were true, it would all but end his days as a star. No one is going to invest max money into a center with a degenerative knee, no matter how young or promising they are. It’s just not financially responsible.
Hopefully, this is just typical Bayless nonsense. Hopefully, he was just blowing whatever knowledge he has (if he has any) out of proportion. Hopefully, this time off has given Bynum a chance to rehabilitate properly.
Hopefully, this just isn’t true. We would just hate to see a play like Bynum cut down in his prime for reasons beyond his control. It just wouldn’t be fair to him, the Sixers or his fans.
Maybe it won’t come to that, though. Perhaps he’s fine. Or maybe not.
Either way, this has officially become a situation to monitor—more so than we already have.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.