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
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
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
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
Visit Christopher A. Vito’s
Sixers blog at delcotimes.com for more coverage.
Labels: Andrew Bynum, Tony DiLeo