In the annals of dumb sports injuries, the competition for true Hall of Shame status is stiff. Among the most boneheaded:
- Gus Frerotte, a Washington Redskins quarterback, sent himself to the hospital by exuberantly headbutting a wall after a touchdown.
- Joel Zumaya, a hot Detroit pitching prospect, inflamed his arm and wrist to the point of missed games by playing too much Guitar Hero.
- Braves pitcher John Smoltz burned his chest while ironing a shirt he was wearing, or so goes the urban legend.
- Hockey’s Jaromir Jagr, with the Rangers in 2006, hurt his left arm in a playoff opener by taking a gratuitious poke at New Jersey’s Scott Gomez but failing to connect. The air punch essentially sidelined Jagr and New York got swept.
- Hitting machine and HOFer Wade Boggs hurt his ribs and missed time because, when he was removing his cowboy boots in a Toronto hotel room, he toppled backwards and slammed into the arm of a couch.
The NBA is not without its silly injuries, either. Just from recent memory, there was:
- Monta Ellis, then with Golden State, wracking himself up in a low-speed moped accident.
- New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire cutting open his hand by hitting a fire-extinguisher case in Miami.
- Kevin Love, just last month, missing a Timberwolves preseason game because he slept wrong on his elbow. (This was before Love broke two bones in his right hand doing “knuckles push-ups.”)
But none of those has anything on Andrew Bynum’s self-nomination to the Hall – if true. The Philadelphia 76ers center, who has yet to play a game since being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, may have suffered a setback in his return from a right knee injury by hurting his left. While bowling.
That’s what ESPN.com was reporting early Sunday morning:
Multiple sources told ESPN on Saturday that Bynum suffered an unspecified injury this month while bowling. On Friday, Bynum revealed that – on top of the issues with his right knee that could keep him sidelined until January – he also had suffered a “setback” with his left knee.
“I had a little bit of a setback, and we’re just working through some issues with the right knee,” Bynum said before the Sixers beat the Utah Jazz on Friday night. “I kind of have a mirror thing going on with my left knee. I don’t know what’s going on, but the doctors are saying pretty much that it’s a weakened cartilage state.”
There are several activities that are prohibited in standard NBA player contracts, but bowling is not one of them. Bynum is known to enjoy bowling.
Bynum might enjoy Dairy Queen “Blizzards” and romantic walks at sunset, too, but if brain freeze or blisters sidelined him from his day job with the 76ers, he’d have some ‘splainin’ to do.
A lot of NBA players – a surprising number, actually – enjoy bowling. But if you’re the cornerstone for your franchise in a massive offseason deal that cost All-Star and Olympian Andre Iguodala, if you have a history of missing games for purely basketball-related injuries and if you flexed your passport in September to get much-ballyhooed Orthokine knee therapy injections but still haven’t played in 2012-13, you shouldn’t be doing anything that carries the slightest bit of physical risk.
Let’s put it another way: Until you’re back hurting opponents with the pebble-grain, inflatable ball that weighs nothing, you’re not allowed to mess around with the shiny composite, swirly-colored balls that weight 16 pounds.
Fans in Philadelphia, notoriously tough on their sports stars, will cut you slack for that haircut. They’ll look the other way, maybe, if Bogarting a handicap parking space gets you back on the court more quickly for coach Doug Collins & Co.
But show up limping on the sidelines in one of those garish shirts with your nickname on the chest, Drew, and you’re toast in that town.