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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Saturday, November 24, 2012


(Associated Press)

Uncertainty surrounding Andrew Bynum has led the 76ers to plan around the absence of their big man. But there’s nothing uncertain about the word ‘indefinitely.’

It’s the term Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo used in describing how long Bynum will remain sidelined with bilateral bone bruises and weakened cartilage in each of his knees.

The Sixers have removed all timetables for Bynum’s return, DiLeo said Saturday night, before the Sixers hosted Oklahoma City. The only confirmed date is a mid-December follow-up for the 7-footer.

So the original plan to have Bynum enter Phase 2 of his rehab some time next month? Off the table. 

And the concept that he would require one to four weeks of basketball activities thereafter? No more.

And the theory that he might play his first game in early to mid-January? Still possible, but not if you were to ask DiLeo.

The Sixers are taking the stance that Bynum will not return to the court until he determines he’s healthy enough to do so. The team is getting out of the timetable-making business, and leaving Bynum’s availability entirely in his hands. 

Bynum has not practiced or played at all with the Sixers, while dealing with his balky knees. He has not played since May 21, in a Western Conference semifinal against the Thunder.

The team has said from the start that acquiring Bynum Aug. 10 in a four-team deal was a calculated risk, being well aware of his history with knee ailments. And the danger in making such a transaction is apparent in Bynum’s delayed debut, if there ever will be one.

The Sixers have to hope that Bynum plays at some point, if for nothing more than reaffirming why they traded all-star Andre Iguodala and a pair of first-round selections – Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic.
They have to hope that Bynum, who suffered a right-knee injury engaging in individual drills prior to training camp and a left-knee injury Nov. 10 while bowling, understands that he’s not only playing for the team that traded for him, but also for his next contract.

Bynum is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. In order to have any shot at nabbing a maximum contract offer from the Sixers, in the form of five years at $100 million, or a lesser contract of four years, $80 million from another suitor, Bynum has to demonstrate that he’s healthy enough to play. The 25-year-old has said on more than one occasion that the pain in his knees would not be enough to keep him from the court “if all the marbles were on the table,” as in a postseason series.

The eighth-year center, from Plainsboro, N.J., has been dogged by injury throughout his career. Excluding last season, a lockout-shortened campaign, he’s played in 60 or more games only twice.
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