ANDREW BYNUM: AS CONFUSED ABOUT HIS KNEE INJURY AS EVERYONE ELSE
Can you blame them?
But there's something else here, something that seemed to get swept under the rug. If you paid attention to Bynum's latest rehab update, Friday after Sixers practice at PCOM, it sounded as though the 25-year-old center is genuinely concerned about his future.
Not with the Sixers. Not in the NBA. But with his future, in general.
When asked whether Bynum feels pressure to play, to debut for the Sixers, to appease fans, to earn respect for battling through pain, he said no. He said his health trumped all else. He said he's willing to wait for doctors to develop a procedure to cure his weakened cartilage, than return to the floor prematurely and ruin what he's built with nine months of mostly non-basketball activity, light rehab and 1-on-0 workouts.
“I feel like it's my life, I'm 25 and I don't want to have no cartilage because that's really bad. That's it,” he said.
At a certain point, Bynum must play – unless he doesn't. Bynum shot down the notion that playing to earn his next contract is on his mind. He also made it sound as though he really has no idea what's up next for him, beyond a deal or his money. He started talking about procedures that are being developed, instead of minutes he hopes to play.
“I think I'll be able to play in some form or fashion in the future. They are getting close with things to do for articular cartilage,” Bynum said, going all medical. “They just grew cartilage in a Petri dish. I think scientists are looking at it, doctors are looking at it. It's a problem and they're going to come up with something.”
Hopeful? Maybe. Perhaps that's all Bynum can lean upon these days. He doesn't have the support of the fans who welcomed him with open arms. He doesn't have a team, saying he feels like an outsider because he hasn't played with them. And he doesn't have any certainty moving forward.
On the surface, Bynum seems like an easy guy to pile on. Deep down, he's a confused 25-year-old without answers about his health and without a career plan beyond the next two months.