As many of you will have heard by now, multiple sources have confirmed that young Lakers center Andrew Bynum is once again experiencing issues in the healing and rehabilitation of his knee. Bynum's right knee meniscus tear, which he bravely fought through in order to participate throughout the NBA playoffs and Finals, has reportedly not healed in time to be ready for training camp. Bynum has not been cleared for basketball activities and according to Lakers' PR spokesman John Black, is unlikely to play in Lakers' preseason games and is only 'hopeful' for the October 26th season opener.
Bynum has a history of knee problems and slow healing times, but even accounting for that, this news comes as a shock as it did not seem anybody expected Bynum's recovery time to leak into training camp, let alone the preseason and possibly the early days of the regular season.
Already, articles have been written blasting Bynum for his complacency in delaying his knee surgery, but I do not believe that should be the issue right now. What has happened, has happened, and cannot be changed. Maybe Bynum should have delayed his holiday, maybe he should have skipped the World Cup, who knows. Just remember, Kobe also delayed surgery/rehab to visit South Africa for the World Cup - if Kobe's injury recovery period leaked into the regular season, would he be criticised in the same manner? But I digress. What is important now is for Bynum to commit wholly to rehab and recovery, and for the Lakers' training staff to work their magic.
All that us fans can do is debate and assess how this new complication shall affect the Lakers in the upcoming season. As the old adage goes, championships aren't won in October and November, and it is near impossible that this complication will directly end the Lakers' quest for a Threepeat (barring, of course, further complications), although any hopes fans had of a happy, injury-free season have already been quashed.
This may well lead to the team being out-of-sync out of the gates, and may quite possibly cost home-court advantage. Even if Bynum only misses three or four regular-season games, if he costs the Lakers two losses in those games that may be the eventual gap between Los Angeles and another contender in the quest for HCA during the playoffs.
On the flipside, this injury allows far more playing time for Derrick Caracter in the preseason and possibly the early days of the regular season, thus allowing him to acclimate himself to the Lakers' playbook earlier and possibly show himself to be a solid contributor, further expanding the Lakers' depth. This injury is truly the opportunity of a lifetime for Caracter, as a player who may otherwise have been buried on the inactive list will instead be able to play spot minutes against other NBA players and attempt to carve a niche for himself in the roster, as will all be covered in a post later today.
Details are still rather scarce regarding this injury complication of Bynum's. All that is known for sure is that he has "not yet been cleared for basketball-related activities," is "not expected to play in the preseason" and is "hopeful" for the October 26th season opener (though that should be taken with a grain of salt, knowing Bynum's oft-extended injury recovery times). As more details come through, we shall keep you posted.
Until then, it is impossible to predict the severity of Bynum's condition, how long it will take before he is able to play again, how long before he is at 100% capacity again, and how this will affect the team and its quest for a Threepeat to any reasonable degree of accuracy, but nonetheless feel free to debate and hypothesise in the comments.
EDIT: Just to make it clear, this is NOT A NEW INJURY. It is simply an extended period of recovery on the meniscus tear he suffered during the first round of the playoffs last season and for which he underwent surgery on on the 28th of July.