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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cavs' Andrew Bynum 'doesn't really care' about rep in Philly, said only memory of year with Sixers is 'frustration'


When former players return to Wells Fargo Center, they get a video montage of their highlights. Since Andrew Bynum never played in a 76ers uniform, he’s not expecting that kind of reception.

“No reception,” the Cleveland Cavaliers center said. “Just expecting to go out and play another game.”

Bynum will face his former team Friday, his first meeting with the Sixers since missing all of last season with a litany of knee injuries precluded him from playing. Here’s what Bynum said at Temple University, following the Cavaliers’ practice:

Any fond memories from last year?
“No, just frustration.”

What was most frustrating?
“Not being able to play.”

Did you get a bum rap because of that?
“I don’t think so. If I could’ve played, I would’ve. And that’s where that’s at.”

Unfair how you’re treated by fans?
“I honestly don’t really care. I don’t know how they treat me. I don’t look … I was hurt. It is what it is. And I’m still hurt, but I’m trying.”

Were you ever worried that the injury was career-threatening?
“Yeah. It’s still career-threatening. I’m a shell of myself right now on the court. I’m just struggling mentally. I’m trying.”

Do you keep in touch with anybody from the Sixers?
“No, not really. The team’s a lot different, too.”

What percentage would you say you’re at?
“I think I’m out of the rehab phase, but I think the stat was I’ve missed 567 days or something like that. I still can’t jump or slide or anything. I’m just going out and trying to play.”

Based on that introductory press conference, do you have a sense why fans would be frustrated?
“I really don’t care. My health is my concern. My knees are my knees. They’re not going to get better. They are what they are. And that’s really it.”

Did sitting out for a year help at all?
“I still feel sharp pains. After my dunk (Wednesday), after that, it went down from there. I still have a ways to go.”

Did you consider retiring?
“Yeah, it was a thought. It’s a serious thought. It still is. It’s tough to enjoy the game because of how I am physically. I’m certain I’ll work through that.”

How did months and months of bad news wear on you?
“I mean, I got bad news with my diagnosis on my news, but I tried to get back continuously. The frustrating part was getting almost there and then (to) keep on having setbacks.”

How is being a role player? Has that eased you back?
“It’s been good. (Anderson Varejao) is playing well and that’s a great help to me, to kind of sit back and accept that role-playing role for the moment. We all know if things were going bad (at the center position), then it would get even crazier. I’m happy for him. He’s doing well, and I’m just going to keep trying to play.”

What’s your goal?
“To be able to play without pain, and to discover the joy again.”

Any talk with Sixers about coming back?
“No there was no talk about coming back here. Honestly, there was no communication.”

Were you OK the way they handled you medically?
“They treated me fine. Nothing went bad. Nothing went wrong. People just need to kind of accept the facts that my knees are the way they are.”

Did your people communicate with the Sixers throughout the process?
“I didn’t have people involved. I had my own personal trainer that I like to use. And everything went well there. He went back home, Philly took over and I practiced one time. The knee swelled up, and that was that.”

What will it take to bring the joy back?
“Right now, it’s battling pain. It’s
annoying that I’m not able to do the things I used to be able to do. It’s frustrating.”

What’s your ceiling?
“I still feel like I can be a double-double guy in this league. It’s going to take some modifications to my game and whether or not I want to accept those terms.”

After a year with Sixers, do you still have the same impression of the fans?
“They’re still great fans. They come out and support the team. While I was here, I had nothing but love. I don’t have any animosity or anything.”

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