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As Expected, Bynum Out Another Month

Mar 20, 2009 – 7:11 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

Brett Pollakoff %BloggerTitle%

Lakers' head coach Phil Jackson had previously told the media not to ask him any more Andrew Bynum questions until April. Basically, he was tired of being asked for updates on an injury that he didn't have day-to-day knowledge of, and one that, by all accounts, was healing exactly as the doctors had predicted.

Those darn reporters were at it again anyway on Thursday, however, before the Lakers were set to take on the Golden State Warriors. And Phil's update, for some reason, became big news -- even though all he did was say something that was right in line with what we were initially told about Bynum's timetable for recovery.

"Right now Andrew is, it looks like, a month away, and that's like the end of the season. This is a from a guy who has been watching players recover and not a trainer, and certainly not a physical therapist, but I think he's still a month away from being a player," Jackson told the assembled media.

There are a couple of things I'd like to point out regarding this so-called update that, at the time of this writing, is the lead story on the NBA section of a certain major sports website.

First of all, how is this news? When Bynum was initially diagnosed, the best-case scenario was that he'd be back for maybe the final week of the regular season, just in time to get in a few games before the start of the playoffs. A "month away," as Jackson said, puts us right at the end of the regular season. This is only an estimate of course, so it's basically not a change at all in what we were told about when we might see Bynum back on the court.

Next, let's consider the source of this news: Phil Jackson.

The reason he told the press to stop asking him to give Bynum updates is because, quite frankly, coaches have no idea what's going on with the health of their players, and they're often the last ones to know what the status is. I've seen this first hand in Phoenix with the Suns, both when Terry Porter was the coach and recently since Alvin Gentry has taken the reigns. Coaches coach, the training staff handles the injuries, and then updates the coach -- often at the very last minute -- as to the availability of the team's players. That's just the way things work.

So yes, with the NCAA Tournament in full swing, it's a slow news day where the NBA is concerned. But that doesn't mean we need to overreact to an innocuous comment from Phil Jackson on the health of Andrew Bynum.

Reporting that Bynum might miss playoff time is not news; it was the case from the very minute we received the initial diagnosis. And despite Jackson's most recent comments, the reality is that nothing has changed since then.
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